The implications of the law on freedom of expression in Uganda

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Kampala International University; School of Law
A legal regime that facilitates the enjoyment of freedom of expression and access to information in a country fosters development and empowers its citizens to participate in the governance agenda. Easy access and availability of information is therefore desirable and ideal in the promotion of good governance, rule of law and human rights. Stringent laws and policies with overly broad interpretations narrow the possibility of enjoying these fundamental rights as enshrined in the Constitution, regional and international instruments. This report presents the findings from the field carried out by the researcher on the Implications of the Law on Freedom of Expression in Uganda. The study examines the extent to determine whether or not the Ugandan domestic legal framework is in conformity with the International legal standards concerning freedom of expression and determining whether or not the government's legal and political processes are in conformity with domestic and international obligations with regard to respect of freedom of expression. The media is an important facet in information dissemination and journalists are key players. Media regulations must be geared towards making it easier for the fourth estate to carry out its duty of information gathering and dissemination. Restrictions in this regard must be narrowly defined and justifiable in a free and democratic society. Sweeping and unlimited powers granted to media regulatory bodies do not augur well in a free society, suppress free speech and kills democracy. Efforts must be made to ensure that restrictive laws are repealed or amended for the good of our societies. It analyses the functioning of relevant institutions, associations and offices, such as the security agencies, and the three arms of Government. Uganda has ratified a number of key international and regional human rights instruments that enshrine the right to participate in the affairs of Government. These treaty provisions have been domesticated in the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, 1995 (as amended) under Articles 27, 38, 2, 41, 43, 28, 221 which guarantees the right of every person to participate in government affairs and in peaceful activities to influence the political process.
A research dissertation presented to the School of Law in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Award of Diploma in Law of Kampala International University
Freedom of expression, Uganda