On the 25th of July, Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) paid a visit to the ICT committee at the Parliament of Uganda. This visit was a follow-up to WOUGNET’s partnership with Internews with the primary objective of empowering women human rights defenders and journalists in Uganda to securely and safely participate and gain meaningful access to an open and free internet including the various social media platforms.
The meeting commenced with welcome remarks from the Chair, Hon. Tonny Ayo (Member of Parliament for Kwania County), who recognised that with the evolving needs for information and communication technology (ICT), there is a need not to leave anyone behind and ensure that marginalised groups especially women benefit ‘most’. This is because women are participating in agricultural and other entrepreneurial activities to enhance the socio-economic development of Uganda. He further noted that the parliament represents people by allowing submissions on issues and policies to inform and refine the policies that consider women’s issues. Presentation of WOUGNET’s findings and policy recommendations on the protection of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) and journalists online was done to the parliamentary committee on ICT which led to further discussions between WOUGNET and the ICT Parliamentary Committee including a focus on how restrictive laws affect both women and men, online safety for women politicians and journalists, training of police, and media engagement in discussions on gender based violence (online).
The ICT committee at the parliament of Uganda made commitment to work with WOUGNET to ensure that possible and specific reviews and amendments on the current Computer Misuse (Amendment) Act, 2022 are made to enhance women’s online safety and security, their access to information or data, to prohibit unlawful sharing or circulation of non consensual sexually explicit images or videos commonly known as “revenge porn”, avoid hate speech targeted at women or structurally silenced women, and openness (free) to the use of social media by women.
Written by Sandra Aceng, Executive Director, WOUGNET