East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Speaker Margret Zziwa has condemned the media crack down in the country saying that freedom of press must be guaranteed.
Zziwa said that EALA supports the freedom of press because it is through this freedom that the media is able to educate the citizenry.
She, however, urged the media to practice responsible and professional journalism by reporting accurately to the public.
Zziwa noted that the freedom of press goes hand in hand with rights and responsibilities expected of journalists who must work according to a code of conduct.
This call by Zziwa comes in on the eighth day since Uganda government police started a search of The Daily Monitor and Red Pepper offices that have seen their operations come to a halt. The search has also affected radios KFM and Dembe Fm.
On Monday last week police raided the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper premises claiming to be looking for an original press release purportedly evidence in a crime which is related to the recent military controversy involving General Sejusa.
Later that afternoon the police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba noted that police shall continue to occupy and search the premises until the said documents are retrieved to assist with on-going investigations.
However in a government statement last week on the floor of Parliament by now former Minister of Internal Affairs Hillary Onek, he said that government did not close the media houses but asked them to halt operation since these places where declared scenes of crime by the police.
Onek added that police was acting professionally and within the law. He said that police existence at the media houses was to get proof of the letter purportedly from General Sejusa.
Despite different calls from human rights activities, civil society organisations, legislators and international organizations for government to open up the media houses, all this has fallen on government’s deaf ears.