World Press Day: Ssenyonyi calls for empowerment, protection of journalists

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World Press Day: Ssenyonyi calls for empowerment, protection of journalists
LoP Ssenyonyi

The Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the Parliament, Joel Ssenyonyi, has called for government’s commitment to respecting and protecting of journalists’ rights.

Mr Ssenyonyi made the call on Friday as the Parliament commemorated the World Press Freedom Day.

On Friday, Uganda joined the rest of the world to commemorate the World Freedom Day which is marked every year on May 3.

The day was set aside by the United Nations General Assembly to raise awareness on the importance of freedom of the press and remind governments of their duty to respect and uphold the journalists’ rights.

In his remarks, Ssenyonyi expressed discontent with the journalists’ working conditions in Uganda, adding that their plight has been worsened by poor pay by their bosses.

He further reminded the government to commit to protecting the rights of journalists as they operate by ending “state” brutality on them.

“Sadly though, many times, they (journalists) face a lot of brutality from the State which should be protecting them as they do their work,” Ssenyonyi said.

"Our hope is that we can get commitment from government on this particular issue, but also to call upon employers of these journalists because as the state brutalizes them, their employers in one way or another ill treat some of them through poor pay."

“I hope this day is a reminder to all stakeholders to treat journalists with respect and to empower them as they carry out their mandate,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Speaker of Parliament, M Anita Among, emphasised the need to uphold the journalists’ right of freedom of expression which is enshrined under article 19 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of the Human Rights.

She noted that these principles are adequately domesticated of Article 29 of the 1995 Constitution.

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