MASAKA/RAKAI- Presidential candidate Nancy Kalemba has questioned the motive of the Media Council of Uganda to register journalists, a few days to the 2021 General Election.
According to the guidelines released on December 10, all practicing journalists covering election events must hold press tags issued by the council or they won’t be able to cover electoral and other events.
The exercise, which was supposed to start last week, was expected to run up to December 21.
Mr Paulo Ekochu, the council chairperson, said in the statement that the move is intended to ensure the industry is well-monitored and free of quacks.
However, Ms Kalembe, who has previously worked as a news anchor, said the timing is wrong, adding that the move is aimed at gagging the media ahead of the election.
“Why should the Media Council call for registration at this time when many journalists have been disseminating information freely before the election period without the government?” she asked.
The presidential candidate said given the busy schedule of journalists during the current campaigns, the government should reconsider its decision and do the registering after election if it is aimed at streamlining the media industry.
“I implore media practitioners, owners and individual journalists to stand firm and protest this planned registration exercise, if it is in good faith, let government postpone it,” Ms Kalemba said while addressing journalists in Kyotera Town during her campaign trail in Greater Masaka at the weekend.
Media practitioners have already protested the directive to have all journalists register with the council, saying the move comes at an unfavourable time and on short notice.
The Editors’ Guild, an association that brings editors together, said the requirement comes at a time when many journalists are already covering the campaigns.
Ms Kalemba said if elected president, she will guarantee media freedoms and also improve the poor road network in the countryside.