Rwanda says Uganda agrees to unblock news sites

Friday August 23 2019

Patrick Nyirishema, Director General of Rwanda

Patrick Nyirishema, Director General of Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (Rura). Mr Nyirishema on August 23,2019 said Uganda had agreed to unblock online access to each Rwandan publications. PHOTO | URUGWIRO 

IVAN R. MUGISHA
By IVAN R. MUGISHA
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Rwanda on Friday said it had agreed with Uganda to unblock online access to each other’s publications after some websites in both countries were targeted for censorship.

Patrick Nyirishema, Director General of Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (Rura) told The EastAfrican that consultations were ongoing with their Ugandan counterparts to resolve the issue “within a few days’’.

“We are on a positive footing and are having good discussions. Actually they [Uganda Communications Commission] were the first to say let us resolve this and get it over with. And we are in total agreement,” said Mr Nyirishema.

On Thursday UCC ordered internet service providers to block access to pro-government daily New Times and Kinyarwanda tabloid, Igihe, citing national security concerns.

On Friday, Rwanda countered the move and blocked Ugandan news sites including state-owned The New Vision, Daily Monitor, Observer and The Independent.

Mr Nyirishema added that Rura reciprocated after seeking clarifications on why Kampala had blocked Rwandan sites.

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“When I spoke to UCC, they made it clear that they blocked sites which they considered hostile...I told them that we were going to take the same action.”

Rwanda and Uganda leaders on Wednesday signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Angola to end months of tensions which have gone on for over two years now.

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