The proposed bill would also extend to movies, TV programs and personal internet use which would be closely monitored by state officials.
Simon Lokodo (pictured), Uganda’s Ethics and Integrity minister, stands staunchly by the proposed plans, which also include banning the likes of Beyoncé and Madonna from television. The government considers pornography an “insidious social problem.”
“We are saying anything that exposes private parts of the human body is pornography and anything obscene will be outlawed. Television should not broadcast a sexy person. Certain intimate parts of the body cannot be opened except for a spouse in a private place. A lot of photos, television, films will be outlawed. Even on the internet, we’re going to put a monitoring system (in place) so we know who has watched which website and we know who has watched pornographic material,” Lokodo contends.
Lokodo, a former Catholic priest who was stripped of his priestly privileges and functions due to his political ideologies, is actively seeking to stamp out pornography in his country and is sure that the bill will pass according to Uganda’s Daily Monitor newspaper.
But the bill has actually run into difficulty in the parliamentary committee stage after some members expressed concern about its implications for constitutional freedoms. Some members of the country’s Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee have pointed out that some of Uganda’s traditional customs might also be considered pornographic. The committee members asked that the government stop curtailing freedoms because it risks hurting tourism.
In its current form, it is proposed that those found guilty of abetting pornography face a fine of Shs10 million ($2,500 U.S. dollars). While many argue that existing laws surrounding pornography already outlaw the practice in Uganda, Lokodo claims the laws only cover the publication of racy material.
Many Ugandans are up in arms and are opposed to the proposed bill. They have hit the Twitterverse with their heated opinions and seem to be very vocal about the country’s latest controversial move: