The United Nations General Assembly declared May 3rd as World Press Freedom Day/ World Press Day to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression enshrined under Article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and marking the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek, a statement of press freedom principles put together by African journalists in 1991.
According to UNESCO, the day serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.
On World Press Freedom Day, we celebrate the media’s ability to work without fear amidst the harsh and volatile working environment. The right to freedom of expression is an entitlement for all journalists who should be free to express their ideas and opinions without fear of being detained and tortured.
This year’s World Press Freedom Day focuses on three different aspects of press freedom; freedom of information as a fundamental freedom and as a human right, protecting press freedom from censorship and surveillance overreach and ensuring safety for journalism online and offline
On many occasions, journalists in Uganda have faced a lot of challenges while exercising their right to seek, receive and impart information such as being attacked by police officers and state agents, vandalizing and confiscating their equipment, some being arrested arbitrarily and others get tortured.
While journalist are subjected to such inhuman treatment, there is a great challenge of professionalism among media practitioners especially when reporting on LGBTI ( lesbian, Gay, bisexual, transgender ,intersex) issues which has in some cases led to murder, physical violent attacks ,evictions, arbitrary arrests, rejections by family and friends among others.
Therefore based on this background as a media house trying to create a platform for sexual minorities in Uganda to express themselves without fear and prejudice, Kuchu Times join hands with the rest of the world to call upon the government and all stakeholders to uphold freedom of press and expression.
This is our call to different stake holders of World Press Freedom Day 2016;
- We call upon the government to respect, protect the right to freedom of expression and access to information of all citizens in line with Article 29 of the Ugandan constitution 1995
- Law enforcement agencies such as the Uganda police to stop of brutalizing journalists and other forms of violations towards the media fraternity.
- We call upon all security agencies and other responsible parties to bring to book their officers that violate journalists in the field on their line of duty and enact appropriate disciplinary actions against these perpetrators of such violations.
- To the parliament and other responsible stake holders to review all media laws to assess their compliance with international human rights standards in order to implement law reforms that would help to improve on the media regulatory environment.
- We call upon all media practitioners to emphasize professionalism while reporting on gender and sexual minority issues.