Radio Katwe: internet censorship in sub-saharan Africa

Reporters Without Borders reports that the communications division of Uganda's government has imposed "mandatory filtering" against a Ugandan news radio station's website. The case is the first known incident of government censorship of the internet in Uganda, and occurred days before presidential and parliamentary elections on February 23rd.

The Radio Katwe news website (Link) accepts contributions from Internet-users and posts content that is extremely critical of the government. Just before it was censored, it had attacked the accumulation of wealth by the family of President Yoweri Museveni.

(…) All the country's Internet Service Providers (ISPs), MTN, UTL, Africaonline, Spacenet and Busnet have made the site inaccessible. UCC officials justified the decision, saying that Radio Katwe "was spreading rumours" and damaging the country's "security and harmony".

Local ISPs filtered the site by blocking its IP address (the identity number of its server that hosts it on the Internet). According to a test carried out by Nart Villeneuve, head of research at Toronto University (Link), they at the same time blocked nearly 700 other sites hosted by the same server, which is based in the USA. States.

On its home page, Radio Katwe advises the use of tools such as or to get round the censorship imposed by the authorities.

Reader comment:
John G. says,

While I agree that the censorship in the case of Radio Katwe is a bad idea, there have been other occasions in Africa (specifically Rwanda) where censorship or jamming of "hate radio" might have caused the tragic events there to play out differently. Radio, like any medium, is simply a tool that is imbued with positive or negative influence by its creator, More here on radio's role in the Rwanda Genocide: Link