Uganda has been named among the worst ten countries where Journalists have been jailed the most in 2017.
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Uganda is among Turkey 73 China 41 Egypt 20 Eritrea 15 Vietnam 10 Azerbaijan 10 Uganda 8 Syria 7 Saudi Arabia 7 Bahrain 6. This leaves the efforts to attain press freedom in limbo.
In Uganda, the Human Rights Network for Journalists has also been documenting abuse against Journalists as they carry on their duty. Most of the reports, over the years has pinned the security as top violators of rights of journalists.
The National Coordinator of Human Rights Network for Journalists in Uganda (HRNJ-U), Robert Ssempala, on Tuesday during a round table meeting in Kampala, said government needed to respect the rights of journalists.
He said: “Government is reminded that continued persecution and oppression of journalists is a violation of press freedom. The government should amend laws that continue to criminalize the work of journalists.”
Several dialogues and court cases were initiated to seek justice for the journalists whose rights have been violated. Currently, eight Red Pepper Editors and Directors are still in jail over a story.
On Wednesday, the Commissioner Uganda Human Rights Commission, speaking to West Nile Press Online in Arua, Justice Meddie Mulumba, said: “The continued detention of the Redpepper Journalists contravenes their right to liberty. We visited them in the prisons and we shall continue to push that Uganda becomes a place where human rights is respected.”
They are to appear in court on December 19. They are accused of disturbing the peace of President Yoweri Museveni.
Efforts by Human Rights groups to have the editors released have proved futile as the Company has continued to make huge revenue from the circulation. Their workers are now rendered jobless which pose a great economic crisis for their families.
In Somalia, On October 8, journalist Mohamed Adan Dirir was unjustly sentenced to 18 months in prison on charges of criminal defamation and publishing false news.