Several Ugandan news websites blocked in Rwanda as ‘brunt of censorship’ looms

Several Ugandan news websites blocked in Rwanda as 'brunt of censorship' looms

Kigali, Rwanda | URN | The soured diplomatic relations between Uganda and Rwanda have now sucked in media houses – with each country blocking what they regard as the other regime’s ‘propagandist’ media houses.

Yesterday, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) ordered Ugandan internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to Rwanda’s The New Times website (www.newtimes.co.rw).

It is not yet immediately clear if the blocking of access to Ugandan news sites such as The Observer (www.observer.ug), NilePost (www.nilepost.ug), Softpower (www.softpower.ug) and New Vision (www.newvision.co.ug) by Rwandan authorities was in retaliation to UCC’s move. The blocked websites can only be accessed via Virtual Private Networks (VPN).

UCC says the order was because the Rwandan paper has continued to publish ‘harmful propaganda’ against Uganda. UCC spokesperson, Ibrahim Bbosa, said UCC had directed “internet service providers to block New Times for publishing harmful propaganda that endangers the national security of Uganda.”

Adding that, “We are engaging the regulator in Rwanda and hope this will be temporary,” Bbosa said. Currently, an attempt to visit the newspaper’s website from Uganda returns an error.

Read Also: Uganda’s telecoms regulator blocks Rwanda’s New Times for publishing ‘propaganda’

The blockage of websites comes just a day when Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame of Rwanda signed a peace pact in Angola on Wednesday, signaling an end to the bitter diplomatic relations between Kampala and Kigali that had resulted into the closure of Gatuna border.

Despite the signing, the New Times newspaper, which is Rwanda government’s mouthpiece, continued to publish propagandist articles blaming the Kampala regime for the impasse.