As you may recall, a couple of weeks back I informed the public that the Government of Uganda had approved funds to establish the Pornography Control Committee (PCC).
Today I am excited to inform you that the long awaited day has finally come! The PCC has been operationalised and the inaugural ceremony has been concluded a few minutes ago at the Directorate for Ethics and Integrity.
Comrades, we all know that Pornography is one of the deadliest moral diseases in this country. This is evidenced by the various reports in all media platforms.
The display, sale and circulation of pornographic images in the print and electronic media is one of the key reasons we have escalating cases of drug abuse among youths, incest, teenage pregnancy and abortion, homosexuality and lesbianism and defilement.
Sex tease shows commonly known as bimansulo are on the rise in major urban centers in the country, exposing youths to risky lifestyles and thus resulting into STDs, HIV/AIDS and other health related illnesses.
I am also made to know that majority of office going people spend much of their time downloading and watching pornographic material. This is more confirmation that Pornography is now eroding Uganda’s human resource and this will in turn hinder the achievement of our vision of; “A Transformed Ugandan Society from a Peasant to a Modern and Prosperous Country”
I am very optimistic that the PCC inaugurated today will take us a long way in addressing this challenge.
2.0 THE PCC- ESTABLISHMENT AND FUNCTIONS
Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to elaborate on the establishment of the PCC. The PCC is provided for by the Anti Pornography Act, 2014. The committee consists of nine members as follows:
a) A Chairperson
b) A distinguished practicing advocate, nominated by the Uganda Law Society
c) Five representatives of whom
i. One shall represent the Media
ii. One shall represent Publishing houses
iii. One shall represent the Arts and Entertainment industry
iv. One shall represent the Education professionals and
v. One shall represent the Health professionals
d) Two other members of whom
i. One shall represent cultural leaders and
ii. One shall represent religious leaders
The members of the Committee are appointed by the Minister responsible for Ethics and Integrity, with the approval of Cabinet.
The above shall qualify to be members of the PCC if they are
a. Of sound mind
b. With high moral character and proven integrity; and
c. With qualifications or minimum of not less than ten years’ experience in law, theology, information communication and technology, journalism, psychiatry or counseling.
I am honored to inform you that the PCC established today satisfactorily meets the above qualifications and I am more than confident that they will live up to the task before them.
What is expected of the PCC?
The PCC shall among others, perform the following functions;
1. To take all necessary measures to ensure early detection and prohibition of pornography;
2. To ensure that the perpetrators of Pornography are apprehended and prosecuted;
3. To collect and destroy Pornographic objects or materials with the assistance of the Police;
4. To educate and sensitise the public about the dangers of Pornography;
5. To promote the rehabilitation of individuals, groups, families or communities affected by Pornography
6. To expedite the development or acquisition and installation of effective protective software in electronic equipment such as computers, mobile phones and televisions for the detection and suppression of Pornography;
7. To promote appropriate educational materials against Pornography in the School Curriculum in consultation with the Government;
8. To promote and coordinate local and international collaboration in the fight against pornography
Fellow compatriots, as you can see the task ahead of this Committee is quite enormous. It is only prudent that we provide them with all the necessary support to make this a success.
I am hopeful that the PCC will leverage the efforts made by the Government and its stakeholders to try and respond to the incidences of Pornography. These includes among others;
1. The Directorate in partnership with CSOs and NGOs has been engaged in public education and awareness on the danger of pornography, drug abuse and immorality. More focus of the sensitization will be on schools where the youths are found.
2. The Directorate together with Uganda Police Force and Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP); supported by whistleblowers (public) and the Uganda Federation of Movie Industry worked tirelessly to bring the perpetrators of these vice to book. The police have apprehended a number of people.
3. The Uganda Communication Council (UCC) has moved in to censure media Houses involved in publishing and circulation of these materials.
Having recorded remarkable achievements in the above areas, it is of the essence to sustain these efforts by supporting the PCC through building coalition/ partnerships and sensitization of stakeholders on their roles and obligations. Government therefore calls upon all stakeholders (state and non-state) to continue to play their roles infighting the vice of pornography.
I would like to applaud the Media in a special way, for your relentless efforts and commitment to expose cases of immorality- particularly pornography in society. You are indeed true patriots willing to see positive change in society. Your presence here today says it all!
Pornography is also Corruption and it is a very deadly evil where people have accepted it as way of life. But this notwithstanding, fighting it is not a futile venture. With the PCC in place now, I believe the impact you and me shall have in this fight will take our country Uganda to greater heights!
I therefore call upon you to provide a fertile ground for this noble cause.
For God and my Country.
Hon. Rev. Fr. Simon Lokodo (MP)
Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity