UNESCO, EU push for media freedom in Uganda

UNESCO

Uganda national commission for UNESCO with the European Union to Uganda commemorates on the International day to end Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

According to Attilio Pacifici head of the European Union delegation to Uganda,”Protecting journalists and enabling the free flow of information and opinion is one of the vital elements of any successful democratic society.

He, however, said in today’s world being a journalist is not an ordinary job and in some cases, it is a profession that comes with very many high risks.

Addressing journalists at hotel Africana Attilio added that the current state of play is not encouraging saying over the past years there have seen terrible attacks on journalists by security operatives.

He noted that surprisingly nobody is arrested or prosecuted or found guilty for the crimes against the journalists.

“A report of the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda indicates that the forces and Uganda People’s Defense Forces were responsible for over two-thirds of violations and therefore there is no justification for such treatment of women and men who are simply trying to do their job,” Attilio explained.

Dr. Emily Comfort Maractho Director Africa Policy Centre at Uganda Christian University Mukono said most constitutions provide for freedom adding that Chapter four of the 1995 Constitution adequately provides for human rights.

“But why then do we continue to speak of impunity for crimes against journalists when there are legal frameworks for protection, there the answer in part, is our lack of appreciation for freedom,” she probed.

She added that Journalists and journalism are used in broad terms to define activities associated with news making and the people who engage in them.

,”Consider the journalist who reports about a broken bridge ahead that helps a driver take a different road, averting a possible accident. Whether we treat journalism as a profession, institution or set of practices, the role of the journalist despite changing circumstances remains very important and we need to protect them,” she noted.

Maractho explained that journalists and journalism are visibly under threat.

“we are told that while killings are the most extreme form of media censorship, journalists are also subjected to countless threats ranging from kidnapping, torture and other physical attacks to harassment, particularly in the digital sphere,” she said.

She added, “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”.

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