Limitations to the Enjoyment of Freedom of Expression in Uganda
Posted: 16 Nov 2009
Date Written: November 16, 2009
Freedom of expression in Uganda has been subject to a number of restrictions since colonial period to date. However in 1986 when the NRM government under the leadership of Yoweri Museveni came into power, there was a paradigm shift into a more liberal approach to the enjoyment of this freedom. A new constitution was promulgated which guaranteed the right to freedom of expression and right of access to information in the possession of the state. One may safely argue that these provisions were domesticated into Ugandan law as a result of ratification of international covenants.These freedoms have however been restricted especially when the media, both electronic and print, have engaged government in political debate, dialogue or criticism. These constitutional guarantees have been restricted by the enactment of punitive laws and creation of institutions meant to suppress media houses and restrict access to information. This has created a situation of self censorship among the media houses as opposed to their primary role of dissemination of information and watch dog to government excesses, a cornerstone to their contribution to democracy. This paper seeks to discus the historical evolution of this freedom in Uganda and examine the legal regime governing press freedom and identify the legal and other practical limitations to the full enjoyment of this right.
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