Journalism profession in Uganda most dangerous – rights body

British Foreign Secretary William Hague on World Press Day: “We all owe a debt of gratitude to the courageous journalists who risk imprisonment, injury and death to report from repressive countries or conflict zones around the world."
British Foreign Secretary William Hague on World Press Day: “We all owe a debt of gratitude to the courageous journalists who risk imprisonment, injury and death to report from repressive countries or conflict zones around the world.”

The failure of the Ugandan government to protect journalists is rendering the journalism profession in the East African country the most dangerous. According to a report by the Uganda-Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda), the rights body says it is greatly concerned by the worsening trend of the safety and security of media practitioners in Uganda and government’s reluctance to bring this situation to a halt.

A report on the Safety and Security of Journalists in Uganda which assesses the trend for the last two years shows that the wellbeing of journalists is threatened by a wide range of issues, namely; the restrictive legal regime, impunity, lack of professionalism among security agencies, infiltration, impersonation, use of hate speech by politicians including the president, lack of minimum wage, failure to understand the role of media and targeted beatings that have intensified and taken a new dimension, are a major cause for alarm.

The report points out that the volatile nature of insecurity against journalists therefore requires that security should be conceptualized in a wider scope other than just mere physical protection from harm.  It should stretch to involve the psychological security of the journalists in regard to their ability to do journalistic work without the constant lingering fear that they are being watched or that a mere mistake in execution of their work will be an opportunity for the state to come after them. This security should also be prevalent at the place of work-crafted in a semblance or a feeling of worthiness of a journalist to the employer should anything happen to the journalist.

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