Are Uganda media (mis)users cyber bullies and what is cyber-bullying?

Most media users have become cyber bullies and quite a number will plead not guilty not because they are actually guilty but rather ignorant of the offence they commit.

Many media users are victims of cyber-bullying or cyberbullies themselves. In this digital age, cyber crimes seem to be inevitable as each day someone is either being tricked to give in their password by a hacker as another is being disparaged on social media.

Also read: What do you know about cyber harassment and how to overcome it?

The latest of cyber-bullying was over the weekend as social media was yet again awash with nudity as users, in a demeaning act, shared embarrassing images of Ugandan city tycoon Emmanuel Lwasa and this isn’t the first nor the last time this will happen. Media users have adopted a new culture of cyber-bullying and seem to be very comfortable with the vice.

What is cyber-bullying?

Cyberbullying is done with the aid of digital devices through different spheres the commonest being social media. Here one shares messages, text or visual, usually embarrassing in nature with an intent to shame, annoy, scare or even ruin one’s reputation. Cyberbullying has many forms for instance that page of a socialite or politician that’s very active with a huge following and the real persona claims they don’t even have a Twitter account? That is impersonation and cyberbullying. One passes on as another.

Other forms of cyberbullying include media harassment, trickery, exposing one’s or a company’s secrets, attacking others through media posts, fighting someone online et al.

Is cyberbullying lawful?

According to the Uganda Computer Misuse Act 2011, cyberbullying is unlawful. Below are some of the offences cited in Part III of the act.

Cyber harassment.
(1) A person who commits cyber harassment is liable on
conviction to a fine not exceeding seventy-two currency points or
imprisonment not exceeding three years or both.

Read also: A summary of the Africa cybersecurity report 2019/2020 Uganda edition launched today

Offensive communication.
Any person who willfully and repeatedly uses electronic communication to disturb or attempts to disturb the peace, quiet or right of privacy of any person with no purpose of legitimate communication whether or not a conversation ensues commits a misdemeanour and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty-four currency points or imprisonment not exceeding one year or bot.

Any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly uses electronic communication to harass another person and makes a threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety or to a member of that person’s immediate family commits the crime of cyberstalking and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one hundred and twenty currency points or imprisonment not exceeding five years or both.

Read more: Data protection: Safeguarding customers from fraudsters

Read more: What to do when nudes leak on the internet: The legal course of action

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