Uganda Drops Seven Places in International Media Ranking

Uganda has dropped seven places in the international media rankings, according to the 2022 press index report by Reporters Without Borders. Uganda now ranks 132 out of 180 countries. This represents a significant drop from its position in the 2021 rankings.

Addressing journalists on Thursday morning, Robert Ssempala, the Executive Director of Uganda Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ), emphasized that Uganda is gaining negative attention internationally due to the increasing number of press freedom violations within the country.

While there was a reduction in reported cases against journalists in 2022 (from 170 to 94), Ssempala stressed that international observers focus on the severity of these violations, as well as the authorities’ ability to ensure justice for journalists.

Ssempala also revealed that as of the first half of the year, HRNJ has documented 43 cases of journalist rights violations, and this number may further increase by the end of the year.

Diana Nandudu, HRNJ’s program officer for legal aid, advised journalists to seek legal recourse by going to court if they have been subjected to physical assault. She emphasized that settling such cases in a court of law would lead to fair resolutions.

One notable incident occurred last week when journalists covering a press conference by Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party chairman Wasswa Biriggwa were attacked by individuals from the party’s headquarters in Najjanankumbi, Kampala.

The journalists suffered severe injuries, had their equipment destroyed, and some belongings stolen. From January 2023 until July, HRNJ has registered 16 assault cases against journalists, 9 incidents of confiscated gadgets, 10 arrests of journalists, 6 cases of malicious property damage, and 2 threats of violence perpetrated by police, the army, and community members.

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