Commentary: Internet shutdowns & women’s online expression in Uganda
"Internet Shutdowns: An Evaluation of Women’s Online Expression and Participation in Uganda", 15 Dec 2020
Navigating the Internet as a woman in Uganda can be stressful and devastating, especially when it is shutdown. While the Internet serves social, economic, and political sectors globally, countries around the world continue to threaten Internet access by blocking or disrupting particular applications, websites, and mobile telecommunications services such as instant messaging and voice over Internet protocol calling.
In Uganda, women are faced with economic hardship, online threats and harassment, surveillance, lack of accessible content online, expensive Internet bundles and taxation, coupled with gender insensitive information and communications technology (ICT), and Internet policies. Acts such as Internet shutdowns tend to worsen women’s online freedom of expression and participation in Uganda and can deny them their right to democratic participation during elections or protests when the Internet is needed the most...
The uptake of strategic litigation against the state’s decision to disrupt the Internet is vital. Despite much documentation on the impact of Internet shutdowns on citizens’ several digital rights such as health care, access to information, privacy, freedom of expression, and even the country’s economy, the government still continues to employ different tactics to ensure the Internet is shutdown. This continues to affect the marginalized and vulnerable groups such as women the more.