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Uganda court annuls anti-pornography law

Uganda’s Constitutional Court has annulled a new anti-pornography law following pressure from women’s rights groups.

Uganda’s parliament introduced the law in 2014 to help curb the spread of pornography saying it would help protect women and children.

A committee of nine members backed up with a staff of between 30 to 40 staff was then formed and sworn in Kampala in August 2017 to help stop the spread of pornography in Uganda.

The committees’ were then empowered with a high-end pornography detection machine purchased at a tune of Sh9 million (88,000 USD) to detect the sharing of nude materials on mobile phones, computers and television.

Gearing up to its tasks the committee announced a number of measures also stating that messages of sexual nature or sexting will be defined as porn and would attract punishment.

However, critics argued the law was misused leading to women in miniskirts and certain types of clothes especially tight clothes being attacked on the streets.

BBC now reports that a panel of five judges unanimously ruled the sections of the law that defined pornographic offences including a ban on ‘indecent’ clothing to be unconstitutional.

When the law was introduced in 2014, initially branded as Anti-miniskirt law’, Uganda’s capital Kampala was hit with protests after women dressed in short miniskirts were publicly harassed and assaulted.

Uganda’s Women’s Network was among several women’s right organization and human rights organizations that launched a petition to the Constitutional court for a review of the law.

Under the law, song lyrics and music videos could also be categorized as pornographic with artists facing charges and jail terms.

It’s the second time the Uganda Constitutional court is going against Museveni’s government morality wishes having struck an anti-homosexuality law in 2014 which sought to not only criminalize homosexuality but also compel citizens to report any suspected homosexual activities to the police.