The report found that defamation remains one of the most serious threats for journalists. It says defamation laws, both criminal and civil, continue to be used all over the world to prevent open public debate and shield powerful individuals from legitimate criticism.
According to the Leader of the Opposition of Parliament Mathias Mpuuga, the Shadow Cabinet has kick-started a process of developing amendments to the Act and other media laws, which he says are draconian.
The Electoral Commission (EC) acting as provided for by the Presidential Elections Act (Amended 2020), under article 24 must see to it that the national broadcaster provides equal but free air space to all contending presidential candidates in an election.
The unprofessional violent acts targeted several supporters of candidates, the media, and political candidates contesting for various positions in the 2021 general election and the EC wants the officers to be brought to the book.
The matter came up this morning when a team of NAB officials led by Vice chairperson Peter Ssematimba was today appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Human rights to answer to cases of rights violations of Journalists, UCC directives and poor pay for journalists by media houses.
In a plenary session on Thursday chaired by Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah, Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said that as the world prepares to commemorate Press Freedom day on Friday, UCC is issuing draconian orders.
Dr George Lugalambi, a media Expert and former Mass communications lecturer at Makerere University says press freedom is not getting any better. He says the motivation for people in Government towards gagging the media have not changed over time.
Crispin Kaheru, the Country Coordinator CCEDU, says the arrest of some civil society leaders and activists across the country and unnecessary investigations of other organizations were not only an affront to the freedoms of association and expression but also an expression of the most rudimentary forms of repression.
The scholars say the recent raid of The Red Pepper offices and detention of its editors and directors is an infringement on media and press freedom as enshrined in the constitution. They also argue that government should have complained to the Media Council rather than closing The Red Pepper and its sister publications. Five Red Pepper Publications Limited directors and three editors were arrested on Tuesday last week following police raid of their head offices, situated in Namanve, along Jinja Road.
Last week, UCC, the government body which regulates the broadcasting sector, stopped the live broadcast of parliamentary proceedings. A number of radio and television stations have also told of how unidentified persons have directed them not to host opposition politicians, particularly those opposed to the lifting of the presidential age limit.
A month ago, Police Spokesperson, Asan Kasingye tried to enforce the directive, saying only authorised officers should speak to journalists. He said non authorized officers would have to get clearance and consult with the department of Public Relations
Markot Taibot, a reporter of Radio Pacis and member of West Nile Press Association based in Adjumani district, says the move is aimed at eliminating some critical journalists from accessing information from the council.