Media and civil society organisations under threat - report

Monday June 6 2011

By Emmanuel Mulondo

Kampala

The media and civil society organisations are increasingly becoming endangered in Uganda, a 2010 state of governance report to be released today indicates.

Titled: “Four Steps Forward, Six Back”, the report says government was visibly taking steps to gag the media and the ill treatment of journalists during the coverage of the recent walk-to-work protests and the passing or lining up for passing of draconian Bills attested to this.

“There is need for review of the existing laws regarding press freedom and their implementation, with a view to removing contradictions and undue restrictions on the media,” the report recommends, citing the “Potentially restrictive Press and Journalist Amendment Bill … and the draconian Interception of Communications Bill which was passed, despite great opposition to it.” Journalists covering the walk-to-work protests last month were beaten and had their tools confiscated.

The report to be released at Africana Hotel in Kampala, was compiled by the Uganda Governance Monitoring Platform, a consortium of civil society organisations tracking the country’s governance issues. It is to be released as part of civil society organisations’ exhibition that will be held today and tomorrow at Hotel Africana.

The report said the year 2010 saw several threats to NGO activists involved especially in political education and anti-corruption work with selective application of the law where government felt its legitimacy threatened.

“Focus must be placed on reviewing the current NGO Act which is being applied selectively to threaten NGO legitimate works,” the report states, adding that the law should instead of intimidating civil society focus on enhancing the their capacity.

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