The effects of criminalising publication offences on the freedom of the press in Uganda, 1986-2000

Mbaine, Emmanuel Adolf (2003) The effects of criminalising publication offences on the freedom of the press in Uganda, 1986-2000. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




The press in Uganda has come a long way right from the colonial days when newspapers sprang up, mainly from missionary activity, through the eras of Obote 1 (1962 – 1971), Idi Amin (1971 – 1979), Obote 11 (1980 – 1985), Tito Okello (1985 – 1986) and the Museveni administration (1986 – to date). For most of this time, the press in Uganda enjoyed very little or no freedom to do its work. The year 1986 saw the ascendancy to power of the Yoweri Museveni as president after a five-year bush war with promised to restore peace, democracy, the rule of law, economic prosperity and civic rights and freedoms. Several achievements in these areas have been registered since 1986. Newspapers have sprouted and the broadcast industry liberalised to allow private ownership that has seen the proliferation of FM stations. However, the relations between the government and the press remain strained with journalists arrested and/or prosecuted mainly for offences relating to sedition, publication of false news and criminal libel. This study was intended to examine why journalists in Uganda continue to suffer arrests and incarceration when the country has been reported to be moving towards democratisation. The study was also aimed at assessing the impact of arresting journalists and arraigning them before the courts of law in the period under study and what this portends for freedom of the press and democratisation. It is recommended, among others, that journalists in Uganda need more unity of purpose to pursue meaningful media law reform that will de-criminalise publication wrongs. The civil remedies available to people who feel offended by the press are sufficient, if not excessive. The efforts already undertaken by the Eastern Africa Media Institute (EAMI) Uganda Chapter in this direction should be pursued to a logical conclusion.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Freedom of the press, Uganda, Press and politics, Mass media, Political participation, Democracy
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN4699 Journalism
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > Journalism and Media Studies
ID Code:2389
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:25 Jan 2012 06:41
Last Modified:25 Jan 2012 06:41
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