Uganda has placed a ban on sexting and other forms of pornographic material distribution.
Sexting is is a portmanteau of sex and texting, which simply means the sending, receiving, or forwarding of sexually explicit messages, photographs or images, primarily between any digital device.
The Minister of Ethics and Integrity in the country, Simon Lokodo, made this known after inaugurating a nine-member anti-pornography committee on Monday.
Mr. Lokodo, who has been on a public campaign against pornography, said it is “one of the deadliest moral diseases in this country” that needed to be stopped if the country was to attain development.
“Pornography is now eroding Uganda’s human resource,” he said, adding that “this will, in turn, hinder the achievement of our vision.”
“The display, sale, and circulation of pornographic images in the print and electronic media is one of the key reasons we have escalating cases of drug abuse among youths, incest, teenage pregnancy and abortion, homosexuality and lesbianism and defilement,” he said.
The committee is charged with preventing the use and distribution of pornographic materials in Uganda and is mandated to identify, seize and destroy any material it deems pornographic.
It will also be in-charge of the prosecution of any individual who is promoting the distribution or consumption of pornography in the country. The team will also see to it that those affected with pornography are rehabilitated.
According to several reports, the government is said to have procured a porn detection machine which costs about $88,000 and will be spending another $556,000 each year to fund the activities of the committee.
In a statement released by the leader of the committee, it has said text messages construed to be leading to sex (sexting) will be defined as porn and attract punishment.
This means the anti-porn committee will actively search, with the porn detection machine, internet traffic in Uganda to detect users watching, sharing and downloading porn.
The Uganda Communications Commission has also been co-opted and will deal with media proprietors who are broadcasting pornography.
The anti-porn committee team will be headed by Dr. Annette Kezaabu Kasimbazi, a communications and journalism lecturer at the Makerere University.
Others include Dr. Fred Nyankore, a health professional, Victoria Ssentamu (publisher), Gastone Byamugisha (education), Hasifa Kabaganja (culture), and Charles Dalton Opwonya from the Uganda Law Society.
Religious institutions are represented by Sheikh Ali Mohammed Wasswa and pastor Martin Ssempa.
The Ugandan Government ban on pornography and sexting follows the government’s previous crackdown on mini skirts and homosexuality.