Press freedom in Uganda is facing a deeply disturbing downward trend, United States Ambassador to Uganda Deborah Malac has said.
She made the remarks last night while speaking at the launch of the Uganda Press Photo Awards (UPPA) publication titled ‘UPPA: 5-years of Photojournalism.’ The book, a brainchild of Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Uganda, highlights some of the exceptional photos taken by Ugandan journalists over the last five years.
Malac said she admires the bravery of Ugandan journalists who continue to work under deteriorating environment adding that the US government will continue to advocate for a free media as a cornerstone for strong democratic governance.
She added that countries thrive when their citizens are informed and that information can be provided for a free media.
Malac also cautioned against the practice of harassing, arresting and shutting down media houses whenever they publish stories that are considered out of line. She was making reference to the recent arrest and detention of Editors and Directors of Pepper Publications Limited, the publishers of Red Pepper.
The team of eight was arrested on November 21 following a police raid of their offices in Namanve, along Jinja Road. The raid was triggered by a story published in The Red Pepper issue of November 20 indicating that President Yoweri Museveni was plotting to overthrow his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame.