Journalists have been advised to appreciate, understand and promote freedom of expression as Uganda heads to 2016 general elections.
The call was made by David Ouma Balikowa, a retired journalist and now a media trainer at a two days training workshop for journalists at Arch Apartments in Ntinda, Kampala on Thursday 16th, July.
“You must understand freedom of expression, appreciate it and promote it. Journalists complain that their rights are abused but when you ask them what is freed of expression? They don’t know it,” Balikowa told journalists at the training.
Uganda National Commission for United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) General Secretary Mr. Augustine Okurut informed attendants that freedom of expression does not start with Uganda Constitution or the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or other international covenants in which it is guaranteed but when a child is born.
“Freedom of expression starts when a child is born. When she cries,” Okurut said.
He also advised journalists to develop reading culture. “If you don’t have a reading culture, don’t waste time. Journalists should be ahead of others.”
The training workshop which was sponsored by Uganda National Commission for UNESCO aimed at training participants on the promotion of Freedom of Expression in Uganda.
The training started on 16th July and ended on 17th July. It attracted around 50 journalists from media houses within Kampala
Guarantee of Freedom of Expression
Freedom of expression is guaranteed by constitution of Uganda under article 29 (1) (a); “Every person shall have the right to— (a) freedom of speech and expression which shall include freedom of the press and other media;
According International covenant on civil and Political Rights, which Uganda is a signatory to, Article 19 (2), freedom of expression means;
“…the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”
The same covenant provides limitations for Freedom of expression
“It may therefore be subject to certain restrictions, but these shall only be such as are provided by law and are necessary: (a) For respect of the rights or reputations of others; (b) For the protection of national security or of public order (ordre public), or of public health or morals.”