Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court Judge Justice Kenneth Kakuru has advised journalists not to spend much time chasing after a socialite Shanita Namuyimbwa aka Bad Black but focus on defending the rights of media freedom
By Francis Emorut
Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court Judge Justice Kenneth Kakuru has advised journalists not to spend much time chasing after a socialite Shanita Namuyimbwa aka Bad Black but focus on defending the rights of media freedom.
Kakuru, who was well known for activism on defending media rights before becoming a judge said he was disappointed that when a journalist is produced in the courts of law (on charges of breaking media law) you hardly find journalists in the courtroom.
"But when it is about Bad Black you will find them chasing after her to take photos and the courtroom is fully parked," Kakuru said with a smile.
He called on journalists to be more vibrant like environment advocates who champion the cause of defending environment protection.
He cited Mabira Forest saga where environmentalists protested against the move to cut trees for sugarcane plantation by an investor.
The Court of Appeal Judge was speaking at the closure of a dissemination workshop on the '8 findings of a study titled "State of Media Rights and Freedoms in Uganda, at Protea Hotel in Kampala on Friday.
The dissemination workshop convened by international Governance Alliance (iGA) and supported by Open Society Initiative For Eastern Africa attracted media practitioners, academicians, officials from Uganda Human Rights Commission and Centre for Human Right Defenders, Police and lawyers.
The meeting was intended to contribute to the strengthening of the rule of law and the advancement of Constitutional provisions that support self- regulated and responsible media.
It was also meant for providing a neutral forum for diverse stakeholders to place media freedoms as an inherent right of all human beings that lies at the core of democratic governance and popular participation as well as enrich the research based on participant's experiences, challenges, opportunities and best practices for enhanced media freedoms.
The Makerere University senior lecturer Prof. Federick Jjuko who carried the research underscored the need to review criminal law relating to the media as it is always abused by state operatives.
He lashed out at the Police for beating journalists and destroying their equipment saying this is abuse of media freedom.
Dr. Maria Nassali the chief executive officer of iGA noted that there was need to strengthen participatory democracy by all citizens and to ensure that there is media freedom in the country.
Rita Nalumansi the program assistant of the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa called for fair laws regarding the media.
"We should ensure fair laws for media freedom," Nalumansi said.
She noted that there was narrowing space for media freedom despite the existing laws which curtail freedom of the media.
Defend media freedom instead of chasing Bad Black - Judge