Journalists under the Human Rights Network for Journalist (HRNJ) have criticised the government’s issuance of new stiff regulations on the licensing of journalists.
Addressing journalist in Kampala yesterday, Mr Robert Sempala, the HRNJ coordinator said the new guidelines should be rejected, adding that they infringe on freedom of speech on which the media is premised. Mr Sempala said the media fraternity drafted an alternative law but government rejected it.
“We cannot accept bad laws,” Mr Sempala said.However, Information minister Rose Namayanja said the regulations are not meant to gag the press.
Ms Namayanja yesterday told journalists the regulations are meant to streamline how the media works to create a good working relationship between the media and the State.
The minister also dismissed fears by some members of the press that their licences will not be renewed if they were seen to be critical of government.
Under the new regulations, journalists are required to pay Shs200,000 to obtain a practicing certificate, Shs100,000 for annual renewal of registration and Shs30,000 for issuance of a certificate of enrolment, among other charges.
SOURCE: DAILY MONITOR