Uganda’s proposed social media tax draws criticism

The Ugandan government is planning a tax on social media, proposing to charge a daily fee of 200 Ugandan shillings ($0.05) to mobile services that include Skype, Twitter, Viber, and WhatsApp. The tax proposal is motivated by concerns about online gossip and connectivity, and finance minister Matia Kasaija explained that it aims to help ‘maintain the security of the country and extend electricity so that you people can enjoy more of social media, more often, more frequently’. The proposal has drawn criticism, as it would make the Internet less affordable, creating barriers to Internet access. In addition, some claim that the measure would stifle rights to freedom of expression and access to information. The new tax is due to become law in July.