Kampala Readers: Media Clampdown is an infringement on Right to Information

1749 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
A small survey of readers in Kampala reveal that, clients are reluctant to buy few publications on sale, some vendors confirmed that companies with monthly subscription have boycotted taking the newspapers until the gagged papers get back on the street.

The ongoing clampdown on the Media in Uganda has not only infringed on press freedom, but readers have also been denied their right to information.
 
A small survey of readers in Kampala reveal that, clients are reluctant to buy few publications on sale, some vendors confirmed that companies with monthly subscription have boycotted taking the newspapers until the gagged papers get back on the street.
 
Allan Mayabo, a Revenue Officer at the Kampala Capital City Authority, says he is limited when it comes to comparing daily coverage and doing analyses, with the Monitor off the street for more than a week now.
 
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Michael Osude, a Human Rights Lawyer, tells Uganda Radio Network that if  the media is blocked from publishing information, then society  opens up for rumors and false information.
 
He mentions that the constitutional provision on freedom of expression entitles the public to participate in open discussions and generate ideas for critical thinking, without state interference.
 
Article 29 of the Ugandan constitution guarantees freedom of the press and of expression, while article 41 calls for increased transparency and accountability, by ensuring that citizens access information.
 
However, members of the public are aggrieved that as the siege on the media continues, their right to information is being hampered. They argue that it’s discouraging to see that they are left with limited options of newspapers they can read.
 
 Uganda Radio Network spoke to Festus Busogi and Dennis Musoke, newspaper readers in Kampala.
 
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Professor William Tayeebwa, a Lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Communication at Makerere University, argues that if the trend continues, there is a likelihood of the media resorting to self and professional censorship, which will water down the standards of media in Uganda.
 
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The siege on the media begun on Monday 20th May , when security forces searched and disrupted operations at the Monitor and Red pepper as well as closing KFM and Dembe FM.
 
The clampdown was in response to the May 7 publication of a letter containing controversial comments by General David Sejusa on presidential succession.