The Uganda police has caught up with the modern information age. This election, they have widened their monitoring of the media to include social media networks like blogs, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
Asan Kasingye, the Assistant Inspector General of Police, says he believes the social media could be abused to foment violence or stir up unrest around the elections. He says it is possible that hate messages and inflammatory statements could be exchanged on Facebook and Twitter and so the police are monitoring them to guard against riots.
Kasingye claims that during the 2009 Buganda riots, some social media were used to stir up the population and cause widespread unrest.
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Kasingye doesn't explain the extent of the monitoring or how it will guard against infringement on personal rights of expression and privacy.
J.B. Wasswa, a lecturer of mass communication at Makerere University, says that although the potential for social media to inflame tensions is real, it currently doesn't have extensive influence in Uganda.
Wasswa says the problem will come if traditional media like newspapers, radio and television broadcast unfiltered commentary and erroneous reports from the social media in regards to the elections.
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This is the first election in which social media has played an important role. Political parties and candidates used Facebook to fundraise for campaigns and the Internet to raise their profiles locally and internationally.
Several candidates, particularly those with urban constituencies, have also used websites and phone SMS messages to rally support around their campaigns.