Scores of Ugandans will no longer be able to access pornography sites on their mobile phones as internet service providers have finally blocked those sites.
The move, which comes on the back of a directive issued by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) will affect about 25 top pornography sites including Pornhub, Xvideos and Youporn.
Before the ban, these three porn sites were among the top 100 most visited websites in Uganda, according to local media, as they have been providing pornographic material for free.
Most of the sites that have been banned also advertised sex workers and showed leaked nude videos of Ugandan celebrities.
At the moment, users of Virtual Private Network (VPN) can access the banned sites while there are other websites that are acting as proxies for the banned porn sites.
“As I speak, we have a team that is compiling a list of other porn sites that will be blocked.
“We anticipate that some people will open up new sites but this is a continuous process,” the chairperson of the Pornography Control Committee, Dr Annette Kezaabu, said, stressing that the list will be sent to UCC which will subsequently direct internet service providers to block the sites.
Section 13 of Uganda’s Anti-Pornography Act 2014 states that “a person shall not produce, traffic in, publish, broadcast, procure, import, export, sell or abet any form of pornography and anyone who commits such is liable, on conviction, to a fine of UShs10m or imprisonment not exceeding 10 years.”
This July, the UCC ordered telecommunication companies and internet service providers to ensure that pornographic material is not downloaded or uploaded through their platforms.
Four months before this directive, the government announced plans of incorporating pornography into the school curriculum as part of efforts to help children in primary and secondary schools to acquire sufficient knowledge about pornography and its effects.
This development came almost two years after the government closed down Bridge International schools, low-cost private schools backed up by investors such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg for allegedly teaching pornography and content related to lesbianism and homosexuality.
The Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Matia Kasaija at the time said as quoted by local media, the Daily Monitor: “Instead of using schools to apply and promote sexual education, why don’t we go back to our traditional aunties (ssenga) and uncles (kojja)? Stop conveying the gospel of homosexuality to our children. You should stop and stop.”
Noted for tightening their grip on how the internet is accessed and used, the government in 2017 released $556,000 to combat online pornography, with some other funding going into its pornography-blocking software. Many Ugandans expressed anger over the news, saying it was only introduced to divert their attention from what they called the failures of the Museveni government.
Currently, authorities believe that the situation would be better dealt with when UCC procures the machine that detects pornographic material.
The ban of porn in the East African country follows reports from Kenya that its National Examinations Council wants the Kenyan government to shut down porn sites to deal with teenage pregnancies.