Journalists appeal to government on media freedoms
Posted Tuesday, January 15 2013 at 02:00
Journalists have asked government to desist from what they described as “intimidating the media with closure”, saying the move contrary to the Constitution, seeks to stifle the enjoyment of freedom of expression and press freedom.
The journalists under their umbrella body Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda (HRNJ-U), said they were dismayed with the government’s on-going efforts to criminalise free expression under the guise of enforcing the law against incitement of violence and control of political and media indiscipline.
“Government has a duty to respect, protect and fulfil its constitutional mandate to protect all Ugandans, especially the media as a media fourth estate, and guarantee its independence including desisting from threatening media practitioners,” said Mr Geoffrey Ssebaggala, the National Coordinator of HRNJ-U.
Addressing the media in Kampala, Mr Ssebaggala observed a steady orchestrated and systematic clamp down of critical voices by state agencies in the early day of 2013, saying Ugandans have a right to participate freely in discussions on governance.
The HRNJ remarks come amid growing pressure on media practitioners accused of carrying divergent views from those of government. Recently, two ministers warned that media houses that do not operate “professionally” could lose their licences.
The ministers, Mary Karooro Okurut (Information) and Frank Tumwebaze (Presidency) said some media owners had allowed individuals to use the media to incite the public.