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Google Responds to Govt’s Request to Block People Power YouTube Channels

The US based technology giant Google LLC has responded to UCC’s request asking the Uganda government to submit a court order requesting it to block the Ghetto TV YouTube channel and 13 other online platforms linked to National Unity Platform (NUP).

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) on December 9 asked California based internet service provider to block access to the 13 NUP related online platforms on allegations of inciting violence.

According to Google’s head of Communication and Public Affairs for Africa, Dorothy Ooko, a mere government request may not work at the moment.

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“It is very hard to just have a channel removed due to a government request. We always follow local law, but it would have to be a valid court order. The letters just show what the UCC submitted to the Embassy; they are not court orders,” she said in an email response on Wednesday.

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Ms. Doroty Okoo Google’s Head of Communications and Public Affairs, Africa

In a letter dated December 9, 2020, UCC says that the online platforms misrepresent information, views, facts and events in a manner likely to mislead and incite violence due to their tribe and political opinions.

The online channels include TMO Online, Lumbuye Fred, Trending Channel Ug, Uganda Yaffe, Uganda News Updates, Ghetto TV and Busesa Media Updates. Others are Uganda Empya, Map Mediya TV, KK TV, Ekyooto TV, Namungo Media, JB Muwonge and Bobi Wine 2021.

“The Commission is in receipt of complaints from stakeholders including the Minister of Internal Affairs (as Chairperson of the National Security Council), the Uganda Police Force and has also observed that communication services, platforms and networks, including YouTube, are being used to publish, disseminate, and/or broadcast content that, contrary to Uganda Communications Act of 2013 and Regulation 8(2) of the Uganda Communications (Content Regulations 2019),” the letter reads in part.

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UCC said that the listed accounts do not hold licenses and are violating the law, using YouTube.

“Wherefore, as the regulator of the communications sector in Uganda and in accordance with the Sections 5(1) (b), (j), (x), 6 and 45 of the Uganda Communications Act 2013, the Commission hereby implores Google to block access to the following accounts,” UCC stated in the later.

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