UCC Blocks Access to Rwandan News Websites

Uganda’s communications regulator UCC yesterday wrote to Internet Service Providers ordering them to block access to multiple Rwandan-based news websites.

The  decision  came at the time when  the Heads of State from Uganda and Rwanda were in the Angolan capital Luanda, signing a pact to restore ties.

The pact was signed by Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni and was witnessed by their counterparts of Angola, DR Congo and Congo-Brazzaville.

In a phone interview with our reporter on Wednesday evening, Ibrahim Bbosa, the public relations officer of the regulator, Uganda Communications Commission, confirmed the blockade.

“We wrote a letter to the operators instructing them to block the websites,” Bbosa said.

He added that access was denied because the news websites were publishing content that was deemed ‘harmful and undermines national security of Uganda’.

The New Times,Igihe,Rushyaya and Virunga Post were among the websites that were temporarily blocked before the decision was withdrawn hours later.

When contacted for comment, Patrick Nyirishema, the Director-General of Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Authority said that he had reached out to his counterpart seeking clarification of the blockage.

“I have formally reached out to my counterpart to seek clarification on the blockage of some news sites which is not proper in the spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding signed by our leaders today (on Wednesday),” he said.

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