Resisting Media Capture: Mobilizing for Media Freedom in Uganda

Chapter for Media Capture in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America: Power & Resistance, Mabweazara & Pearson (eds.)., Forthcoming

35 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2021

See all articles by Carl-Magnus Höglund

Carl-Magnus Höglund

University of Gothenburg

Johan Karlsson Schaffer

University of Gothenburg - School of Global Studies; University of Oslo - Faculty of Law

Date Written: August 27, 2021

Abstract

How can journalist groups and media organizations challenge media capture? Previous research has documented how governments in authoritarian contexts seek to control and dominate the media sector by, for instance, introducing laws and regulations that limit free speech, corrupting licensing systems, and directing government funding and advertisement to loyal media outlets. In Uganda – as in several other countries in Sub-Saharan Africa – government liberalized the media sector in the early 1990s and passed a new constitution that guarantees press freedom, but has since tightened its control of independent media through a range of legislative and regulatory measures as well as outright assaults on individual journalists.

However, this raises questions about how the primary targets of such capture – journalists, press freedom groups and media houses – respond to and seek to resist media capture. In this paper, we seek to explain how journalist groups and media organizations can challenge government attempts to subvert independent media. Drawing on original fieldwork data, including a set of semi-structured interviews with journalists and media freedom activists in Uganda, we analyze mobilization strategies to counter government attempts to control the media sector. We tentatively conclude that the media sector as a collective in some cases has been able to push back government control attempts. However, since media houses and journalists in general suffer material and economic deprivation, successful resistance requires combining legal mobilization with other forms of contention.

Suggested Citation

Höglund, Carl-Magnus and Karlsson Schaffer, Johan, Resisting Media Capture: Mobilizing for Media Freedom in Uganda (August 27, 2021). Chapter for Media Capture in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America: Power & Resistance, Mabweazara & Pearson (eds.)., Forthcoming , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3912443 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3912443

Carl-Magnus Höglund

University of Gothenburg ( email )

Viktoriagatan 30
Göteborg, 405 30
Sweden

Johan Karlsson Schaffer (Contact Author)

University of Gothenburg - School of Global Studies ( email )

POB 700
Gothenburg, SE 40530
Sweden

University of Oslo - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 6706 St Olavsplass
Oslo, 0130
Norway

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