The Head of the European Union (EU) delegation to Uganda,
Ambassador Attilio Pacifici says has called for sanctions for perpetrators who attack journalists.
Pacifici was speaking during the EU-United Nations Educational,
Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) event in commemoration of the International
day to end impunity for crimes against journalists. The commemoration was held
on Tuesday under the theme 'End Impunity, Protect Journalists,"
Ambassador Pacifici says that most of the injustices against journalists
have been taken to court but no person is arrested or prosecuted for the
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A recent Press Freedom Index 2020 by the Human Rights Network for
Journalists Uganda -HRNJ indicated the Uganda Police Force -UPF and the Uganda
People's Defence Forces -UPDF as the alleged perpetrators.
The report indicated 174 individual press freedom violations.
Ambassador Pacifici says that there is no justification for such treatment of
women and men simply trying to do their job and that journalism is not a crime.
Pacifici describes as sensitive, issues related to media freedom particularly
when journalists attempt to cover issues related to politics, security and
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He adds that the EU delegation in Uganda is prioritizing media freedom
and the protection of journalists both through projects they fund and
diplomatic engagements with the government and other stakeholders in the
"Protecting journalists- and therefore enabling the free flow
of information and opinion - is one of the vital elements of any successful
democratic society. However, in today's world, being a journalist is not an
ordinary job and, in some cases it is a profession which comes with very high
risks," said Pacifici.
Pacifici said that Uganda can do a better job in protecting its
journalists and also sanction those found to have violated the constitutional
rights of journalists.
Rosie Agoi, the Secretary Gerald of the Uganda National Commission
for UNESCO said that freedom of expression is the lifeblood of democracy and
sustainable development. She said that without the free flow of
information and ideas, the public cannot form opinions and take decisions about
issues confronting them in daily living.
Agoi said that it is unfortunate to see journalists targeted for practicing and that efforts must be made to ensure their safety.
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Dr. Emilly Comfort Maractho, the Director Africa Policy Centre at
Uganda Christian University, Mukono said that Journalism matters, because
journalists give people information with which to understand the world, and
make decisions about their lives.
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She also notes that journalists and journalism are visibly under
threat citing censorship, kidnapping, torture and other physical attacks to
harassment, particularly in the digital sphere.
“We also know, that threats of violence and attacks against journalists, in
particular, create a climate of fear for media professionals, impeding the free
circulation of information, opinions and ideas for all citizens,” said Dr. Maractho.
Dr Maractho appealed for the understanding of the freedoms of
expression and media, saying that without this understanding and commitment to
freedom, it will not be possible to end impunity or protect journalists. She
also said that the rapid changes in the industry require regulation tempered by
reason and media policy that is positive.
Dr Maractho also underscored the need to strengthen the judicial
system and follow the principles of humanity and equal justice.
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The former Police Spokesperson Emilian Kayima said that they take the
safety of journalists seriously and that it is unfortunate that the abuses
“There is a problem everywhere that we need to address. Joint training
and reviews to appreciate each other’s roles are important.
The International Day to end impunity for crimes against
journalists was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 2013 in recognition of
the far-reaching consequences of impunity. The resolution adopted at its 68th
session urged member States to implement measures countering the present
culture of impunity.