Civil society, media discuss media freedom

Delegates from the judiciary, media practitioners and the government officials met in Entebbe this week to discuss freedom of expression in East Africa.

This after lawyers advocating for free and independent press from the state and security, presented a report explaining the current tense situation in East Africa.

Dr Sylvia Namubiru Mukasa, the executive director of Legal Aid Service Provider Network said the state of freedom of expression in East Africa is worrying and there are emerging issues that need to be resolved.

“What is the state of freedom of expression? How is access to information being governed across the region? What are the emerging issues? How are journalists operating? What kind of environment are they operating in ,is it conducive is it restraining?" she asked.

Dr. Namubiru noted that the meeting is aimed at sharing experiences and also see how to garner support and mobilise lawyers to protect the media in East Africa.

"In Uganda here we know that we have the Computer Misuse Act and other related laws. We also have in Tanzania the regulations that are regulating bloggers that has been put in place and in Kenya they have their own legal frame work,” she noted.

She noted that the media should be given confidence to access justice in a bid to prevent their rights from being abused.

“Media that informs, the media that is the ears and eyes to the community, the media that speaks on issues of governance, the media that speaks on the issues of democratic processes,” she said.

Aloys Habimana of International Centre for Not for Profit Law said the interest is in promoting legal frameworks that align squarely with international norms in governing the protection of civic freedoms, freedom of expression included the media.

 

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