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Twitter and facebook services have been suspended by major telecoms in the country.

Internet subscribers of UTL, Warid, MTN - some of the major ISPs (internet service providers) - are greeted by the “server not found” error message on trying to access these particular social media URLs (web pages).

A Warid telecom official at the call centre denied knowledge of such a move, saying the problem could perhaps be with facebook itself.

“Our internet is working just fine and we don’t have any problems”, she said.

But the social media services availability via the Orange service deflates her argument.

In fact, when a Warid engineer was asked why they are denying their clients this particular service while other web pages are accessible, he said:

“No, no, it is not us; it seems it is the government that has blocked the service. Even us we are crying like you”.

However, the telecommunications regulatory body, UCC (Uganda Communications Commission) has denied it is behind the social media outage. UCC’s public relations officer, Isaac Kalembe, said:

“We have not instructed anyone to block any social network,” before adding: “Maybe it’s the ministry of ICT.”

If, as suspected, government is behind the move, it will be the second time in a few months that it has forced ISPs and telecoms to deny its citizens access to social media to reduce micro-blogging that it believes incites the population, especially as the “walk to work” protests pick momentum and even spread to Jinja, Masaka, Gulu and other upcountry areas.

Earlier in February this year, the government asked the telecoms to block and regulate the use of some keywords such as “bullet”, “Mubarak”, “Ben Ali” in the SMS services.

This was at the height of the North African protests that ousted both the Tunisian and Egyptian presidents.

Meanwhile Daily Monitor reported yesterday that government has blocked live radio and television broadcasts of the “walk to work” protests.




Comments

 
0 #1 Cornelius Gulere 2011-04-15 13:39
This is Great lent and all we have to is to fast and pray without ceasing.
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0 #2 thomas miles 2011-04-15 15:29
this is speculative journalism i was able to surf all my internet files on my laptop all day long and even twitted with colleagues in USA so when was the internet off

We understand the plight of ugandans in this period when prices are soaring due to fuel high prices but we need to know that uganda is not in isolation other countries the US inclusive are feeling the pinch.

12 month ago a gallon of gas was costing $1.50 now it is at $4!!
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0 #3 Dmystfy 2011-04-15 15:54
They tried it else were, it never really did work?
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0 #4 Peace Nkabi 2011-04-15 16:35
Now we all know they blocked
FDC tally centre during elections. Besigye won and they blocked the results so they can publish thier dodgy ones. Babbi nyo!!!
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0 #5 Mugambe 2011-04-15 17:10
I can't believe that our gov't has reached this extent!!! But one thing i know u will never supress the will of the people
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0 #6 Omwouganda 2011-04-15 18:07
It is true that earlier on in the initial stages of the Arab Spring some dictators like the deposed dictator Honsni Mubarak tried to block the internet.

But it turned out to be an effort in futility, it was already too late to stop the revolution, the train had left the station, or the cattle had already broken out of the kraal. Similarly, the dictatorship in Uganda is on the ropes and the people have had enough and wish to free themselves from an oppressive, corrupt and an illegitimate regime that has routinely stolen elections, and came to power violently only to impose on the people of Uganda its rogue, sectarian ideology.

It is time for the regime of dictator Museveni, an autocratic kindred of Mubarak's and Muammar's to go - it should have been gone long time ago. The opposition has finally matured to engage the people at the grassroots' levels.

After all the power belongs to the people, not a few illegitimate, armed rogue elements. Keep the fire on Museveni and his corrupt cronies; they have to go, one way or the other.
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0 #7 Mugume 2011-04-15 19:34
Sing with me:- Mpe nkoni, mpe nkone,.. Because if you allow instant web communication, we may end up like Egypt. Thank you all you that voted for this mess.

You enjoyed the free sodas and wanted another rap, and now here starts the consequences of your shortsightednes s, and all Ugandans must pay the price for your dumbness.

Keep voting for the corrupt pple who accepted a 5m sweetener to remove the presidential 2 term limits. Look in the mirror. You'll see the person who is responsible for correcting this mess.
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0 #8 Kayemba 2011-04-15 19:53
museven abused our support and paid back by humiliating the diginity of Uganadans now is the time to teach him a lesson

when most Ugandans cant afford a meal he wants 4 billions for the swearing in ceremony for a stolen victory morever

this is unbelievable

Basajja mwe mufune ku nsonyi
otherwise mututta

On monday let everyone join us in our WALK TO WORK if the government has failed they should say so.
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0 #9 Chico 2011-04-15 22:05
Which guys are running the show over at UCC?

How does blocking Ben Ali, Mubarak SMS help you?

Useless! We need dynamic visionary people running things not these lumpens. I have been neutral but the recent stupidity has convinced me it is time to push these guys out.
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0 #10 J Ssozi 2011-04-16 04:05
I think you reported this too soon because MTN's 0.facebook.com (the free facebook mobile service by MTN) works fine on my phone. Actually I used the same all day yesterday and again this morning. You should probably look do some more research..

It is true that the government could make a move towards blocking facebook and Twitter but in my opinion as a blogger and social media user, that is NOT necessary.
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0 #11 Ronald 2011-04-16 05:49
I use Orange Internet and i have been accessing FB. Even the one on Mtn fone is working. Wolokoso.
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0 #12 jake 2011-04-16 05:59
So far, all your sources have denied government involvement and you have not even tried to explain how techniccally blocking od twitter and facebook can be accomplished.

The readers need to know that for government to excercise such power, all ISPs would have to use a common hub or internet connection. Which we know is not so.

Sit down at a pc, open a command prompt, type "tracert www.twitter.com" from a utl link then do the same at all the other links. Then analyize the data.
I am saddened by the lack of competent IT expertise by our media houses.
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0 #13 Bagatuuma 2011-04-16 06:58
These Dictators run out of Ideas the same way, Killing the innocent ones, Blocking social networks, assembling guns, etc. Museveni is just approaching the dead end. He cannot make Uganda any better. These are just the kicks of a dying horse. (Bagbo in the Coming)
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0 #14 TechSavvyChic 2011-04-16 07:23
@Jake, you need to go to networking class so you fully comprehend how the internet operates in general instead of trolling.

Using Twitter/Facebook IPs, it's entirely possible to block these sites. Only other way you'd be able to access them is via proxies.
All ISPs use a common "hub" called an IXP by the way.
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0 #15 Mubiru peters 2011-04-16 09:28
Jake,

It is embarrassing when you try to speak authoritatively about what you don't really understand. ISPs do not have to be on a common hub in order to block access to particular sites.

All it takes is an instruction from govt to the ISPs to block the sites in question and the ISPs can just simply "null route" any traffic to these sites. I have been in this field for over 7 years and I believe I know what I am speaking about.

Incidentally my colleagues in one of the ISPs mentioned above actually confirmed receiving such an instruction to block facebook and twitter from his superiors who told him it was a government order till 6 p.m.

However it is trivially easy to bypass even such blocks by ISPs using tools like TOR http://www.torproject.org, various anonymisers like http://www.anonymouse.com and others. A search on google will reveal various similar sites meant to facilitate those who want to avoid censorship.

One thing to note is that the various ISPs messed up in their blocking. They found it easy to block their fixed bandwidth customers but it wasn't as easy for their mobile customers especially for orange and MTN which also offer the free facebook access on mobile.
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0 #16 Senopaul 2011-04-16 09:44
Like i said earlier so Ugandans have something wrong with their barins.The only blame could go to the govenrment not coming out to tell the people what is really happening.

Some people with weird thinking tanks use this chance, the likes of Besigye.Its just that prices of fuel arent raised by the government taxes,infact for two years, the tax on fuel has not been increased.So dont lie people.
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0 #17 Jim Kamezza 2011-04-16 09:55
m7 is creating genocide conditions in Uganda
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0 #18 wodgot 2011-04-16 12:51
Information can't be withheld in an explosive market like Uganda.
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Yes, the attempt to block facebook, twitters and to intimidate mobile phone service providers only justifies the current status quo in Uganda.
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It's unconstitutiona l for Museveni's presidency to deliberately suffocate democracy through the means of oxygen of information.
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0 #19 Spencer 2011-04-16 15:07
yes thanks Jake...done a tracert on an airtel and mtn .. true path is different. hence these UCC bootlickers will have to ask each provider to block separately..

please share hw to circumvent the blocking we need to prepare. The new ugandan dictator is steadily and constantly evolving...I will share some other smart ideas when time is ripe to make it harder fo lumpens to ie trace our phone calls.

we cant have more rape from the lumpens that want to spend 3bn in one day for swearing in. Dont be raped.
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0 #20 Polycarp 2011-04-16 16:37
Mr. Miles, the average gas price in the U.S. 12 months ago was $ 2.70 a gallon (please note a gallon not a liter). By saying that it was $ 1.50 you are misleading the readers.

It is also unfair to compare Uganda to the US. Please put into consideration the purchasing power of the Americans in comparison with Ugandans most of who earn less than a dollar a day.

In your posting the reference "we" smacks of condescension and cynicism. It is typical of a patrimonial attitude toward your hosts. Mr. Miles let the people walk after all unlike in the US in Uganda walking is not a luxury.
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