By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: The High Court of Uganda has Monday dismissed BOGUS directives by Uganda Media Council requiring Journalists to register to cover the ongoing general elections and other State events.
Judge Esta Nambayo has also issued a PERMANENT INJUNCTION against the Media Council’s attempt to start registration of journalists without a fully functioning National Institute of Journalism-Uganda (NIJU).
Judge Mbayo added, “the compulsory accreditation of journalists has been held at both national and international levels to be a hinderance to the effective enjoyment to the right to freedom of expression”.
Mbayo’s judgement was after Journalists told Court that the impugned Guidelines of the Media Council illegally curtail the independence of the press and media, contrary to the freedom of the press and other media guaranteed under Article 29 (1) (a) of the Constitution.
They also explained that the curtailing of press and media freedom is well illustrated by the brutality of the security organs against journalists during the current electoral process.
“The journalist who has been victims of the brutality of the security organs were well geared with press identification tags and that the security organs have not taken any disciplinary actions against errant officers, despite having clear video -audio and photographic evidence of the brutalities,” journalists further told the court.
It all started after the Ugandan editors under their umbrella organization, The Editors’ Guild petitioned against the move, citing lack of legal mandate by the Media Council and the fear that the exercise would fundamentally infringe on the rights of Freedom of Expression in the country.
Unfortunately, although the court order has come out just days after conducting the presidential and MPs elections where hundreds of local and International journalists missed out on covering the same citing lack of accreditation cards from the now illegal Council orders.
Judge Nambayo’s ruling was delivered today Monday, January 18, 2021.