Parliament has closed offices occupied by Uganda Parliament Press Association (UPPA), an association that brings together journalists working at parliament.
In a letter dated 18th January 2016 Chris Obore, the Director of Communications and Public Affairs ordered Sergeant-at-Arms Ahmed Kagoye to close the offices of the Uganda Parliamentary Press Association (UPPA) with immediate effect.
“We are in the process of accrediting reporters to cover the 10th Parliament. We wrote to the editors to second journalists with degrees. However, some journalists have taken issue with our requirement for a degree and have gone to court,” the letter reads in part.
Adding: “Please close the office until a good working relationship between us and the UPPA [Uganda Parliamentary Press Association] is restored. The accredited journalists covering the current Parliament are free to continue their work.”
Chris Obore noted that the decision was arrived at after consultations with Speaker Rebecca Kadaga about temporarily withdrawing the space.
The directives come at the backdrop of the move by parliament to set standards for journalists who will cover the 10th parliament.
According to a letter dated January 11th addressed to various media houses in Uganda, signed by Mr Okello Obabaru, on behalf of the Clerk to Parliament Jane Kibirige stated that “the journalist(s) designated by media houses to cover parliament should demonstrate that he/she has a Bachelor’s degree in journalism, communication or related field and has practiced journalism for 3 years.”
The decision is informed by the “need for a complete, fair, accurate and balanced coverage of parliament and its committee.”