The Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Media (UPFM) has condemned the continued violence against journalists in the country.
In a statement released on Wednesday to commemorate the International Day on Press Freedom, approved the forum’s Chairperson, Paul Amoru said a free environment for media is important for democracy.
“UPFM wishes to associate with all pro-press freedom voices in the country. As a Forum, we believe that press freedom is a cornerstone for every democracy since it allows inclusive participation, driven by informed choices,” part of the statement read.
“At a time described by some as critical for journalism, World Press Freedom Day 2017 will focus on why it is vital to strengthen free and quality journalism to enable the media to effectively contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal.”
Amoru who is also the MP for Dokolo north recognized the growth of media and space.
“We acknowledge that for last three decades of the current leadership, there have been significant levels of growth in media as a channel of communication to meet the socio-cultural, political and economic demands of the time.”
He quoted police as being the biggest challenge to press freedom and urged that individual officers should be singularly followed with law.
“We condemn the Observer and HRNJ break-in as a direct encroachment on the freedoms enshrined in the laws of this country and all these incidents put the custodian of law and order into question on competence. The use of excess force on journalists on duty portrays the institution’s image as high handed even where the case may not be.”
According to Amoru the existing laws are sufficient to handle media related activities but the misinterpretation is the test.
“As a Forum, we believe that it is not the laws but rather misinterpretations of these laws by either party that has continued to witness rampant cases of abuse on one hand and overstepping on the side of journalists.”
He stressed that Police and other armed agencies of the state need to operate from within the confines of the law and tow a middle line.