The evolution of media policy in Uganda
Chibita, B. Monica
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This article examines attempts to put into policy or law the parameters of media freedoms in Uganda since the colonial period. Taking a historical approach, the paper identifies major trends in media policy in Uganda across different political regimes. The trends indicate a lack of consistent, clearly articulated and documented policy, a level of ambiguity in the wording of legislation, a tendency to retain outmoded colonial legislation and to recycle aspects of repealed laws, deliberate efforts to curtail editorial independence in the laws, inadequate provisions for converting the state broadcaster into a public broadcaster, the use of the protection of reputations to obscure the mismanagement of public affairs, and the often over-arching powers of the executive to intervene in the day-to-day regulation of the media. Methodologically, the article relies on in-depth interviews and legal documents. The article concludes that although Uganda has made some strides in the media policy arena, the situation is still “precarious” and the most recently proposed media bill does not bode well for media freedoms in the near future.