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Existing media laws in Uganda seek to criminalise journalists' work, analysis finds

A policeman holds up a newspaper as media and members of HRNJ-Uganda protest outside the Daily Monitor newspaper office, 28 May 2013.
A policeman holds up a newspaper as media and members of HRNJ-Uganda protest outside the Daily Monitor newspaper office, 28 May 2013.

AP Photo/Rebecca Vassie, File

Human Rights Network for Journalists has released an analysis of media laws in Uganda that limit freedom of expression.

A 40 page analysis by Catherine Anite, the head of HRNJ's legal department and James Nkuubi, a Human Rights Lawyer, Media freedom in Uganda: Analysis of inequitable legal limitations looks at a number of media laws in Uganda that unjustifiably criminalize free expression.

Speaking at the launch, HRNJ-Uganda's national coordinator Robert Sempala noted that 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," said the national coordinator.

He said Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is struggling 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 its citizens to participate in 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," Mr. Sempala said.

Click here to access the analysis.

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