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Freedom of expression groups call on Uganda to improve press freedoms

(Freedom House/IFEX) - Washington - September 23, 2010 - In the wake of the killing of two journalists and concerns over a proposed amendment to the press law, the International Joint Partnership Freedom of Expression mission to Uganda today released findings and recommendations from a four-day mission to Kampala to address the deteriorating environment for freedom of expression.

The delegation, which included representatives from ARTICLE 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Freedom House, the Media Foundation for Western Africa, the Media Institute of Southern Africa and local host the African Centre for Media Excellence, met with high level government officials, media representatives, and civil society activists. The goal of the mission was to provide solidarity with local groups working to promote freedom of expression, especially in the lead up to next year's elections, and draw attention to impunity against journalists.

"While we were encouraged by the recent decision by the constitutional court to overturn the sedition provision of the penal code, restrictions on freedom of expression continue to be a serious concern in Uganda," said Freedom House's freedom of expression officer Courtney C. Radsch. "We urge the government to fully implement the recommendations of the mission, including a thorough and transparent investigation of the recent murders of journalists Paul Kiggundu and Dickson Ssentongo."

In its official report, the group recommends that: laws that do not adhere to constitutional protections for free speech be repealed, the government fully implement and fund the Access to Information Act, the Broadcasting Council follow due process in sanctioning media outlets and re-open CBS radio without further delay, and all cases against journalists be carried out in accordance with due process and the presumption of innocence.

Uganda is ranked Partly Free in Freedom of the Press 2010 and Partly Free in Freedom in the World 2010, Freedom House's survey of political rights and civil liberties.

Click here to read the official report
Freedom of the Press 2010: Uganda
Freedom in the World 2010: Uganda
Freedom House
Committee to Protect Journalists
Media Foundation for West Africa
Media Institute of Southern Africa

Non-IFEX member organisations:

African Centre for Media Excellence

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