The Human Rights Network for Journalists in Uganda(HRNJ) has asked the Uganda Media Council to refund the money collected from media houses and individual journalists to register them during the period elections.
The suggestion follows a court ruling that declared recent registration of over 400 journalists by the council was illegal.
Robert Ssempala, the executive director of HRNJ-Uganda said the Media Council should refund the money it collected from the journalists because the exercise was illegally conducted.
He noted that council is supposed to be an entity of government that facilitates the media.
“The motive in which the money was collected was illegal and you can’t hold on something in which the court has declared illegal,”he said.
Each journalist was required to pay Shs 50,000 and each media house, Shs 200,000 to obtain the accreditation.
Last week, the High Court ruled that the Media Council must immediately cease registering journalists as planned due to lack of legal mandate and that its orders were irrational.
On December 31 last year, journalists under the Editors’ Guild alongside the Centre for Public Interest Law, petitioned court, citing the lack of legal mandate by the Media Council to issue the said directives, fearing that the same would fundamentally infringe on the rights of freedom of expression in the country.
Earlier, the council, a government body that regulates the conduct and promotion of good ethical standards and discipline of journalists, had demanded that for any journalist ( local or foreign) to cover the ongoing general elections, they must be accredited.