News editors under their umbrella association of the Editor’s Guild and the Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) have gone to court seeking to quash what they termed illegal, irregular and irrational directive of the Media Council to accredit journalists to cover the elections.
They are seeking a temporary injunction restraining the Media Council or those, such as the police from enforcing the directives until the determination of the main application.
Recently, the Media Council gave journalists until December 21, 2020 to register again, if they want to cover the ongoing electoral process.
The editors questioned the timing of the accreditation, raising concerns that this may be intended to curtail the freedom of the press.
According to the editors, there is need to protect the constitutional right to freedom of expression, including for citizen journalists.
Daniel Kalinaki, the interim chairman of the Uganda Editors Guild and Managing Editor of the East African, swore an affidavit in support.
The legal challenge comes days after police announced that with effect from December 31 2020, they shall recognise only journalists and media practitioners who are accredited by the Media Council, during the coverage of political campaigns and other electoral events.
“We wish to notify the public that with effect from the 31.12.2020, the police and sister security agencies shall recognise only journalists and media practitioners who are accredited by the Media Council, during the coverage of political campaigns and other electoral events,”said Maj Gen Paul Lokech, the
deputy Inspector General of Police, in a statement.
Lokech said the accreditation will help in distinguishing journalists who are compliant from those who are holding out.