The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, has called on the government to block all pornographic websites in order to protect children from exposure to inappropriate content at a young age.
Speaking at a high-level policymaker’s engagement on financing for young people organized by the Uganda Parliamentary Forum for Children (UPFC), Tayebwa emphasized the need to address the increasing access to adult material by children.
“Our children are exposed to violent cartoons; our teens are exposed to pornography. In Muslim countries, pornography is blocked. Tell me, how much would our economy suffer if we blocked pornography sites in the country? Pornography is detrimental to us,” Tayebwa stated.
The Deputy Speaker also directed the Minister of Youth and Children to collaborate with other agencies, including the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, to learn from Muslim countries that have successfully blocked access to pornographic sites for underage children.
“Minister for ICT, why aren’t you blocking pornography? Apart from destroying the model family, what value does it add to our nation? I believe the Minister for Children and Youth should bring this issue for discussion in parliament,” Tayebwa urged.
Tayebwa further emphasized the importance of reviving the African belief that “a child is brought up by the community.”
“In my community, everyone could offer a child food if they were hungry, and anyone could discipline a child if they were not in school. However, nowadays, the community has abandoned this critical role of raising a child together. We need to address this,” he noted, calling on the relevant minister to take necessary steps to protect young people.
State Minister for Youth and Children Affairs, Sarah Nyirabashitsi Mateke, expressed concern over the insufficient funding allocated to her ministry.
“Currently, for this financial year, I have been given UGX 20 million for street children. That means I only have five million (UGX 5 million) per quarter. What can I do with five million?” the Minister questioned.
Mateke also called for the recruitment of paediatricians in every district, highlighting the significant number of children the country is losing.
“We need paediatricians in every district. We are losing many children, and we need to address this issue,” she noted.
Margaret Makhoha, Chairperson of the Uganda Parliamentary Forum for Children, raised concerns about the lack of a dedicated budget for child protection in Uganda. She emphasized the need for clear roles and budget allocation within relevant government ministries, departments, and agencies to establish a comprehensive child protection system.
“All relevant line ministries, departments, and agencies should understand their role in child protection and allocate their budgets accordingly,” Makhoha stated.
Makhoha urged all stakeholders to prioritize children’s issues in the country, emphasizing that funding should be based on the need rather than solely on the available resources.