The anti-pornography Bill has suffered another setback after it was rejected this morning by Uganda Human Rights Commission. The Commission argues that there is no need for a separate law on pornography because the existing laws can be strengthened to address the same concerns. Dr Katebalirwe Amooti Wa Irumba, a commissioner with Uganda Human Rights Commission expressed concern on Clause 2 of the Bill which provides a definition of pornography including cultural practices and displays.
According to Uganda Human Rights Commission, despite the fact that the definition is wider than what is provided for in the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons Act 2009, it does not in certain instances show the intent of the exposure of parts of the body such as breasts or thighs. UHRC recommends that the definition in the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons act which states that pornography means any representation through publication, exhibition, cinematography, indecent show and others of a person engaged In real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a person primarily sexual excitement be adopted and included in the Penal Code Act.
Dr Katebalirwe also notes that the definition of what amounts to a broadcast is not specific and could be prone to misinterpretation. They therefore recommend that the definition should be aligned with the definition of broadcasting in the Uganda Communications Act 2013 and the Electronic Media Act Cap 104. The commission also notes that Clause 14 of the Bill provides for the offence of child pornography but without clarifying what amounts to child pornography or making any reference to section 23 (4) in the computer misuse Act 2011.
The commission recommends that the definition of child pornography given in the Computer Misuse Act be adopted and this together with Article 2 of the Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, Child prostitution and Child Pornography that provides for any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes be included in the amendment to section 166 in the Penal Code Act.
Dr Katebalirwe says UHRC the Penal Code Act be amended as may be deemed necessary by Parliament in order to address the concerns noted. The UHRC also recommends strengthening of relevant acts such as the Press and Journalist Statute Cap 105 and the Electronic Media Act Cap 104.
Christopher Acire, the Gulu Municipality MP suggests merging of the law that most organizations say already exist and remove them from the Penal Code Act to form the Anti- pornography Bill.
Efforts to get in touch with Father Simon Lokodo, the state minister for ethics the mover of the bill were futile.