The chairperson of the Commission of Inquiry into land matters has urged owners of media houses to remunerate the journalists well in a bid to promote press freedom in the country.
Justice Catherine Bamugemereire made the call yesterday at a luncheon to recognise the role of the media in helping the public understand the work of the Commission.
“It is unthinkable that someone can spend an entire day reporting and have nothing to take home,” Justice Bamugemereire said in reference to concerns over poor pay.
She said paying journalists more than a living wage would deter them from being influenced or compromised by sources.
“It is only when we have press freedom that we can regard ourselves as a democratic nation,” Justice Bamugemereire said.
She also urged the armed forces in Uganda to come up with guidelines for journalists to follow in riotous situations instead of beating them as they go about doing their work. According to her, that is not good for democracy.
Justice Bamugemereire also hailed the deceased chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, Med Kaggwa, saying he believed that press freedom and human rights were one and the same thing.
She commended the media for helping her draw important life lessons. She said the media helped her realise that when conducting a matter before the cameras, she is the one on trial and not the person in the dock.
Like the Psalmist in Psalms 90, Justice Bamugemereire said the media puts the public’s weaknesses before us.
The judge appealed to Journalists to continue highlighting the plight of people affected by land matters beyond the Commission.