Editor’s Note: Every Friday, WPR Senior Editor Robbie Corey-Boulet curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent.
In recent years, the leaders of a number of African countries have tried to curtail the influence of social media by imposing internet blackouts, especially during elections and other times of heightened tension. This year, Uganda has been pushing something different: a tax on the use of social media, which would have the added benefit of raising revenue while muffling criticism of President Yoweri Museveni’s government. The BBC reported that, under the new measure, users of social media sites have been required to pay a fee of 200 Ugandan shillings, or roughly 5 cents, before logging onto them.
On Wednesday, hundreds of Ugandans took to the streets of Kampala to voice their opposition to the tax, which went into effect earlier this month. Security forces used tear gas and bullets to break up the demonstration, but the message from Ugandans seems to have gotten through to their government. Later on Wednesday, Prime Minister Ruhakana Ruganda announced that the measures were being reviewed.