2021 Uganda Elections: Open Letter to Alphabet Inc.
The African Declaration on Internet Rights and Freedoms Coalition endorsed an open letter to Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google services, in which they urged the tech giant to contest a request by the Ugandan government to ban over 14, mainly opposition and citizen journalists’, Youtube channels. The request by the Uganda Communications Commission, on behalf of the Ugandan government, was to ban specific Youtube channels, citing reasons of inciting political unrest. However, this request gravely impacted on the right to seek and impart information and the right to freedom of expression online. The open letter, cosigned by 30 other civil rights organizations, highlighted the importance of Google services, such as Youtube, in the exercise of fundamental human rights. It noted that the request violated commitments made by the Ugandan government under several international and national human rights instruments, including the 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The open letter, relying on Alphabet Inc’s obligation and corporate responsibility to respect human rights under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, urged Alphabet Inc. to challenge the Ugandan government’s request through legal channels in order to maintain and respect human rights.