THE Swedish ambassador to Uganda, Anders Johnson, has warned the Government against enacting laws that may gag the media, saying it will undermine the countryâ€™s development.
The ambassador said media freedom was crucial to free and fair elections in 2011.
â€œFree media has an important role to hold decision-makers accountable as well as to enable citizens make informed choices,â€ he stressed.
On the proposed amendments in the Press and Journalist Act 2001, the ambassador said Sweden was closely monitoring the Government over the Bill, adding that freedom of speech is a constitutional right.
Johnson made the remarks while launching Makerere Universityâ€™s wireless internet hotspots on Tuesday.
He said Sweden did not tolerate inciting violence and hate speech by the media, â€œBut these challenges must not become an excuse for governments to violate the rights of those who use the media for peaceful purposesâ€.
The Bill, currently being reviewed by the Cabinet, seeks to empower the Media Council to control the licensing of newspapers.
It also bars the media from publishing material that is prejudicial to national security, any matters injurious to Ugandaâ€™s relations with its neighbours and material that amounts to economic sabotage.
Several activists have noted that if passed, most of the proposals in the Bill would further erode press freedom.
Envoy calls for free media