Media dialogue on ‘Media Freedom in Uganda; Analysis of inequitable legal limitations’
At Hotel Africana –Kampala, on 26th/ March/ 2014
Opening remarks by Robert Ssempala – National Coordinator, HRNJ-Uganda
The Media plays a very fundamental role in preserving a free and open society through dissemination of information that fosters debate and contributes to good governance in Uganda. It is therefore imperative that a favorable regulatory framework is set up by the government to buttress and bolster the growth of the media and to maintain high ethical standards, professionalism and competence of journalists.
A number of existing laws in Uganda do not safeguard growth of the media, but rather seek to control and criminalize the work of journalists. This analysis therefore aims at steering public debate on the undue restrictions on the media and advocating for reforms that will decriminalize speech and facilitate the enjoyment of freedom of expression in Uganda.
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) therefore struggles to realize a legal regime that facilitates the enjoyment of freedom of expression and access to information as a way of fostering development and empowering the citizens to participate in the governance and decision making from an informed point of view. Stringent laws and policies with overly broad interpretations narrow the possibility of enjoying these fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution, regional and international instruments.
Allow me to invite you all to agree that the media is a very important aspect in information dissemination and that journalists are the principal players; all together they form the fourth Estate. So, full scale efforts must be made to ensure that all of the restrictive laws that suppress free speech and kill democracy are progressively repealed or amended.
For God and My Country