Kampala, 14th, Jan, 2013; Human Rights Network for Journalists –Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is dismayed by government`s efforts to criminalize free expression under the guise of enforcing the law against incitement of violence and control of political and media indiscipline. We have noticed several actions and statements made by government officials that are intended to hold freedom of expression hostage. We have also noticed in the early days of 2013 a steady orchestrated and systematic clamp down of critical voices by state agencies.
HRNJ-Uganda notes that having a divergent view from that of government and expressing it openly is becoming risky, notwithstanding that government has a constitutional obligation to respect, fulfill and protect the rights of all Ugandans who want to express themselves irrespective of where they come from or which party they belong to. This duty must be performed fully without discrimination.
Article 20 (2) of the 1995 Constitution states that the rights and freedoms of the individual and groups enshrined in the Chapter IV of the Constitution shall be respected, upheld and promoted by all organs and agencies of Government and by all persons.
HRNJ-Uganda has also learnt that journalists particularly those hosting political talk –shows and their producers are under pressure from their supervisors not to give platform to members of parliament and individuals with views divergent from government. These actors are currently facing threats of closure or suspension of licenses of their media houses by government. It is now becoming criminal to host or provide a platform to those considered “anti, rebel or indiscipline” politicians with divergent views. Similarly, it has become “unlawful” to express your dissent view/ opinion in any form and to speak about matters of governance.