On 3 May, during a joint national event in collaboration with the Uganda Human Rights Commission, and many media associations, OHCHR-Uganda OiC Ms. Grace Pelly, made a speech highlighting the importance of upholding the right of freedom of expression and protecting journalists in Uganda, to mark World Press Freedom Day 2018.
More than 300 people, including representatives of the State, civil society organizations, media practitioners, the private sector and general public were in attendance. The Right Honorable Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, Rebecca Kadaga officiated at the half-day event that started with a peaceful procession through the streets of the capital Kampala led by the Government’s spokesperson and head of the Government’s media center.
Ms. Pelly noted that during the Universal Periodic Review for Uganda, it was recommended that Uganda ends intimidation, threats and attacks on journalists and promotes open reporting and commenting on issues of public concern, a recommendation that the Government of Uganda accepted. Unfortunately, however, there are continued reports of attacks on journalists in the course of their duty, arbitrary detention, and threats and intimidation towards them. “A recent report by the Human Rights Network for Journalists found that the main perpetrator of violence crimes against journalists was the Uganda Police among other security agencies.” She called upon the Government of Uganda to fulfil its pledge to promote the rights to free speech and expression and to protect journalists in Uganda.
She further commended the incredible work being done by the Uganda Human Rights Commission, the Africa Centre for Media Excellence, the Uganda Journalists Association, the Human Rights Network for Journalists, Human Rights Network – Uganda (HURINET) and other civil society organizations that continue to work tirelessly to protect the rights of journalists and the right to free speech.