Though Ugandans won’t be getting a new anti LGBT law for Christmas the government of Uganda has launched a crackdown on political activists who use social media to convey their messages. Masindi News Network (MANET), which has more than 9,200 Facebook followers recently attracted the wrath of the government. The first causalities were 3 young activists who are behind the popular Facebook page Masindi News Network where young people in the rich oil Bunyoro region exchange views on government issues. The administrator of the page Jonathan Akwetereiho & 2 other youth activists Rogers Kanuti & Fredrick Banage were arrested last month for 3 days. Social media is crucial for our Ugandan LGBT community as well. We asked filmmaker Tim McCarthy who is working on a documentary in Uganda “Voices of the Abasiyazzi” that features LGBT Ugandans who talk directly to their fellow Ugandans about their shared culture & lives about this recent social media crackdown. McCarthy stated, “Social media is the only platform that activists have in Uganda to get the word out about corruption & discrimination. It is no wonder that the dictatorship is cracking down. We were beaten up by riot police at a free press demo in June of 2013”. The word “Abasiyazzi” is Ugandan for queer.
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