AFLI Policy brief on integrating human rights in regulation of media practice in Uganda
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Despite ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 19) and recognition of freedom of opinion and expression by the Constitution of Uganda (1995), state and media practitioners continue to clash in public space over the right of media to access public information and to determine content and presentation of media output. This policy brief discusses integration of universal media freedoms and rights into the media policy framework, and is based on policy research commissioned by the Uganda Policy Development Management Forum based at Uganda Management Institute (UMI), in partnership with Africa Leadership Institute (AFLI). Data was obtained by document review and presented to a public policy dialogue attended by media practitioners, government technocrats in the ministry of ICT and National Guidance, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), academia and the general population. The study established that the international human rights standards were entrenched in the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda of 1995 which provides the overarching framework that specifies state obligations and accountability on rights and freedoms. The study established that these rights are largely misunderstood and hardly implemented in the Ugandan media space. This policy brief recommends that; government of Uganda embraces a holistic approach to media regulation to include; protection of media freedom and human rights, recognition of information as a public good; capacity building for media practitioners; expeditious law reforms to integrate media freedom as a fundamental human right, establishment of laws to sanction individuals who abuse media privilege; inclusion of media interests in the National Action Plan and National Development Plan, commemoration of international and local media days and strengthening of networks for media practitioners. Media should also build internal checks to self- regulate and enforce professionalism.