Journalists urge Leaders to respect press freedom, condemn UCC’s directives on media

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The African Journalism Institute for International Affairs (TAJIIA) Founder Nasser Kasozi (LEFT),Moses Mulondo UPPA-President and Charles Mugerwa Adressing the press at Parliament on Thursday. Photo by Maria Wamala.

As we mark the world press freedom day Journalists from various professional media organizations, including the Uganda Parliamentary Press Association (UPPA) and The African Journalism Institute for International Affairs (TAJIIA) are urging government to respect press freedom by allowing media freely operate in a fair an conducive environment and condemned with displeasure the directive by UCC calling it an attack to the media and that UCC should rescind the decision

The United Nations General Assembly declared May 3 to be World Press Freedom Day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and marking the anniversary of the Windhoek Declaration, a statement of free press principles put together by African newspaper journalists in Windhoek in 1991.

Moses Mulondo, The President of the Uganda Press Association (UPPA), said, the directive is in breach of article 29 of the constitution which guarantees protection of the freedom of expression and that must be enjoyed by all practicing journalists.

He called on all the media professional associations, parliament and civil society and development partners to condemn UCC;s directives and cause action that is oriented to safe guard press freedom in Uganda and ensure these draconian directives and threats on media’s suspension are over turned forthwith.

“Let Journalists practice in a free and fair environment without muzzling their rights to express themselves and seek for information as it is a constitutional right”.

The African center for media excellence in a statement signed by Prof. Peter Mwesige said the UCC order was reprehensible and arbitrary and must be reversed immediately.

It appears that UCC will not tolerate coverage that shows the government especially the security agencies in unflattering light.it is not as if when journalists carry alive feed of an egregiously brutal arrests of a prominent public figure they are making up the story. ACME’s statement reads apart.

UPPA Online Media Representative  and founder of The African Journalism Institute for International Affairs (TAJIIA), has called upon the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to stop infringing on media rights and instead provide an environment that would enable the media and journalists to practice freely in a modern and democratic Uganda.

“As Uganda mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day, it’s saddening to learn of the continued infringement onto the media rights by several government agencies.

We are aware of more journalists and media houses whose names have been marked in red by the commission over doing their job. These draconian directives by the authorities can’t go unchallenged,” Nasser said.

According to Kasozi Nasser, this is another step in the wrong direction by the “regulators” as the media fraternity seeks to build and have a freely conducive and productively progressive media landscape in Uganda.

As TAJIIA a media development organization we demand that the government through her several agencies should respect the rights of journalists and desist from the continued threats and harassment of media practitioners.

Nasser said, it’s at this time that journalists and all media practitioners ought to speak out further and louder in unity as a body otherwise our future stands ripe to be eaten pieces.

These disturbing events by government operatives and agencies serve to remind us that, the pen is mightier than the gun.” Who doubts only time will tell us!

Over the years UCC has acted cynically with the aim of controlling not regulating the media industry.

Its latest directive will cripple news gathering operations, hamper the free flow of news and other information and trigger a chilling effect on the media industry as a whole.

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