Country Report: Biometric Digital Identity Programs and Independent Journalism in Uganda

This report focuses on Uganda and is part of a multi-region research seeking to identify and compare the state of biometrics and digital identity threats, usage, and impact in Africa, the Balkans, Central Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and South and Southeast Asia.

The report explores the impact of Biometric and Digital Identity (BDI) programs on independent journalism practice in Uganda. Using a mixed-methods approach combining content analysis, questionnaires, and interviews with journalists and media personalities, the report details how the implementation of BDI programs has facilitated surveillance and intrusion on journalists and media houses. In turn, the report examined how this has affected the pursuit of independent journalism practice in Uganda, with a focus on media freedoms and access to information.

To respond to the research question, the study categorized issues according to restrictions and gaps, namely (a) restrictions on critical reporting and reporting on sensitive issues, (b) restrictions on investigative journalism, and (c) restrictions on identity protections. Additionally, the report details that media practitioners in Uganda are facing professional challenges in resisting the weakening of independent journalism, occasioned by digital safety and online protection gaps at the skills, knowledge, and tools levels.

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