Shadow Minister for Information and Anti-corruption in the office of Opposition in Parliament Joyce Bagala has said the available statistics show that journalists continue to be brutalised by those who should protect them.
“Many reports including the latest one by the Human Rights Network of Journalists indicates that over 131 journalists were attacked largely by police and the army during the course of their work,” she said as Journalists in Uganda joined the rest of the world to observe the International Press Freedom Day.
Bagala said these acts of violence against journalists who are mandated by the Constitution under the bill of rights must stop, adding that this is a remarkable day for the media as it provides the platform to speak out about challenges the media industry faces today.
“The other major challenge that needs to be addressed touches on the issue of the welfare of Journalists. Some journalists are poorly paid, work without contracts and lack other job related benefits such as health insurance, NSSF among others. These issues need to be attended to such that media owners stop abusing labor rights,”.
She expressed concern that the freedom to use social media in Uganda continues to be under threat yet social media and online publications are important in sharing information.
“As we speak, accessing Facebook today without VPN in Uganda is a major problem. Numerous journalists and online publishers have been targeted. All these point to a deep challenge. For Democracy to thrive in our country, access to information and media freedoms must be upheld and protected,” she stated.
She said this will enable people to make informed decisions and also promote peace and development.