Social Media Tax in Uganda Starting 1 July 18
Uganda’s legislature enacted a new law to create social media tax in Uganda which became effective on 1st July, 2018.
This law will make Ugandans to pay Ugandan Shillings 200 per day as tax towards government revenue. This is an equivalent of USD$0.05 or Ksh. 5 per day.
President Yoweri Museveni was the leading proponent of Social Media tax claiming that the tax will help reduce online gossip. Uganda’s Minister for Finance believes defended the new tax claiming that the tax will provide additional revenues for government.
The new taxes were opposed by a number of people including Lydia Namubiru who is a journalist and activist. She stated that, the new tax will threaten online communications which is seen as a threat to Yoweri Museveni’s 32 year rule.
This might have been informed by the fact that a popular opposition Member of Parliament by the name Bobi Wine used online platforms to campaign during the last elections.
The proposed social media tax is expected to raise Ush. 155 billion an equivalent of Ksh. 4 billion in Kenya.
Several states have expressed their desire to control how their people use social media. For instance, Papua Guinea recently announced that the country was planning to block use of Facebook to allow the state to “analyze how the population is using the service.”
In Kenya Cyber Crimes law is an attempt to suppress freedom of expression. Tanzania enacted a law that requires bloggers or online publishers to pay a USD$ 930 per year as license fee to operate an online media such as YouTube or a blog. This is a true crackdown on free speech.
Social media’s impact was witnessed during the Arab Spring when at least two governments were ousted out of power. These were Tunisia and Egypt. In the Arab Countries, social media was used as a platform to mobilize citizens to join demonstrations and political protests.
Egyptian regime responded by blocking both Facebook and Twitter. Later the regime caused an internet blackout.
Love coverage played a central role in making sure that no violence happen. Media companies such as Al Jazeera were constantly coverage the political protest especially at Tahir Square throughout the Egyptian Revolution which happened in 2011.