Uganda’s “Pornography Control Committee” To Get Away With Tracking LGBT People

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By Austin Bryan, Research Fellow

Kampala, Uganda — Today Uganda’s Minister of Ethics and Integrity, Simon Lokodo, announced that Uganda has approved funds for the “Pornography Control Committee,” which will not only persecute those found publishing or in possession of “pornography” but also be used to “detect” LGBT persons.

At a press conference at the Uganda Media Center, following the launch of the Committee, Lokodo made unfounded claims that “the majority of people in [Ugandan] hospitals are victims of pornography and drug abuse” and cited pornography as a “deadly vice.”

While Ugandans should be protected against sexual abuse and human trafficking, the Anti-Pornography Act has failed to do that, and the “Control Committee” which Lokodo is a member, is expected to persecute those who are LGBT.

In 2016, referencing how the Pornography Control Committee will operate, Lokodo said, “One of them is a censor gadget or machine. We are going to procure this machine and it will detect ‘homos’ and porn actors especially those misusing applications like WhatsApp with sex acts. The South Koreans are programming it. And very soon we will ship it into the country and all the evil will be busted.”

According to Lokodo, the Ugandan government has now purchased the 2 billion shilling ($88,000) “machine” from South Korea. However, when asked how specifically this detection will work, Lokodo only referenced the ability of the Control Committee and Uganda Communications Commission to scan and search mobile phones.

This is of obvious concern to LGBT Ugandans, who are still criminalized by the Ugandan Penal Code, and actively persecuted by Lokodo as seen with the shut down of Uganda Pride for two consecutive years.

“Proven if you are in the act of pornography, you will be charged with 250,000 (Ugandan shillings) or 2 years in Prison,” said Lokodo.

However, there was no comment by Lokodo about the punishment for those found with homosexual “pornography.”