Patrick Besigye Keihwa, the chairperson of Kabale District has appealed to all government agencies to respect the work of journalists saying they are key in the development of the country.
“A country cannot develop without media. We must therefore respect their work,” Keihwa said.
Keihwa, a veteran journalist said civil servants and other persons that fail the work of the media have actually failed the country. He made the comments on Thursday evening ahead of today’s World Press Freedom day. World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in December 1993, following the recommendation of UNESCO’s General conference. Since then, May 3, the anniversary of the Declaration of Windhoek is celebrated widely as World Press Freedom Day.
Ahimbisibwe Gad Rugaju, the Kabale District deputy Resident District Commissioner said it wasn’t fair if journalists only reported negative information and give less attention to the achievements realized in the long run.
“Sometimes you only focus on reporting bad ideas about government, which was unfair,” Rugaju said.
Uganda, according to a newly released report dropped on the Global Press Freedom Index from the 117th position in 2018 to 125th in 2019.
According to ranking, the country lags behind her neighbors Kenya and Tanzania, which occupy the 100th and 118th positions, respectively. Uganda’s drop on the press freedom index has been blamed on acts of intimidation and violence against reporters, which the report says occur on a daily basis.
The overall best-performing country was Norway, which retained the first position, followed by Finland and Sweden. There was, however, no African country that was ranked among the top 10 of the 180 countries considered in the study. The best African countries were Namibia in the 23rd position, Ghana and South Africa followed in the 27th and 31st positions, respectively.
The three African countries ranked better than the US and Britain in the 48th and 33rd positions.
Antonio Guterres, United Nations Secretary General In his message emphasized that no democracy can exist without accurate information.
“No democracy is complete without access to transparent and reliable information. It is the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions, holding leaders accountable and speaking truth to power,” Guterres wrote.
According to his message, he is deeply troubled by attacks against journalists.
“I am deeply troubled by the growing number of attacks and the culture of impunity,” Guterres wrote.
He called on all leaders around the world to defend the rights of journalists, whose efforts help to build a better world for all.
According to UNESCO observatory recorded, 99 journalists killed in 2018, and a total of 1,307 journalists killed between 1994 and 2018.. Hundreds are imprisoned. When media workers are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price.
Ms Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO also in her message urged then world to act together to protect the freedom of expression and safety of journalists.
“Impunity for crimes committed against journalists is a threat that affects all our societies. This threat requires us to be constantly vigilant. We must act together to protect the freedom of expression and safety of journalists,”Azoulay wrote.
The theme of this year is “media for democracy: journalism and elections in times of disinformation”. The celebrations are organized jointly with the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, UNESCO and the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.