The net remains the only safe place for dissent – but President Museveni would rather silence critics than address their issues

On the morning of 1 July, Ugandans woke to find they could not read their WhatsApp messages, scroll through the chitchat on Facebook and Twitter, or post a picture of their Sunday lunch on Snapchat.

The east African country’s new social-media tax had taken effect. To access any of the more than 60 online platforms listed as “Over The Top (OTT)” – chosen by the government because they offer voice and messaging services – they were expected to pay a tax of 200 Uganda shillings (4p) a day. This translates to about £1.20 a month, or £14.60 a year, in a country where nearly a quarter of the population lives on less than £1 a day.

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