Govt draws media into Museveni, Besigye fight

Police officers push journalists away from FDC presidential candidate Kizza Besigye’s home recently. PHOTO by Abubaker Lubowa.

“The government is being forced to come out without pretences. They know that the majority of the population was very unhappy with the manner in which the election was conducted. That (Justice Steven) Kavuma order, which was ex-parte, is not necessarily relevant to the situation. You cannot issue a blanket prohibition of what is supposed to be someone’s right. You cannot issue an order that people are not supposed to be dissatisfied; that even if they are dissatisfied they cannot express their dissatisfaction. It is clearly unconstitutional. How the dispute will be resolved will have very little to do with the law,” Prof John Jean Barya, Law Lecturer, Makerere University

“The government’s decision to ban media coverage of FDC activities is truly disappointing just days after World Press Freedom Day. Such restrictions violate not just the rights of journalists, but the right of citizens to information. Citizens of Uganda should be able to decide for themselves what information to use to make informed choices about their country. Efforts to restrict the press and people’s access to information are big steps in the wrong direction. If a country’s media is under threat, it’s citizens’ rights are under threat as well,” United States Embassy

“The EU delegation in Kampala wishes to recall that the establishment, maintenance and fostering of an independent, pluralistic and free press is essential to the development and maintenance of democracy in a nation, and for economic development.
The EU considers that the right to freedom of opinion and expression includes freedom to seek, receive and impart information. It is a key component of democratic governance and development. People need to be fully informed to be able to form an opinion and participate in decision-making processes that affect their lives. Freedom of information also contributes to better governance as it enhances transparency in public affairs and can be used as a tool to make governments accountable for their actions, in particular when access to information results in the exposure of the violation of fundamental freedoms. For these reasons, the EU deplores the decision to ban media houses in Uganda from reporting on issues of national public interest,” European Union

By ERIASA MUKIIBI SSERUNJOGI

HRNJ-UG Admin

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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