Court Ruling on Journalists’ Accreditation Case to be Delivered on Election Day

The High Court has said it will on January 14th 2021 rule on an application in which Editors Guild Uganda Limited and Public Interest Law Limited are challenging a decision by the Uganda Media Council to have journalists registered and accredited for the general elections.

High Court Justice Esta Nambayo on Monday made the announcement after directing the petitioners to file written submissions by Tuesday.

The applicants are represented by former Uganda Law Society President Francis Gimara while The Attorney General who was represented by State Attorney Geoffrey Madete will then reply on Wednesday.

On December 31st 2020, the applicants petitioned the Civil Division of High Court challenging the December 10th directive by the Uganda  Media Council requiring all Journalists foreign and local to register within seven days, for accreditation to cover the forthcoming general election and other state events.

Subsequently, the Uganda police issued a notice on December 31 indicating that the police and sister security agencies shall recognize only those persons on the Media Council register during the coverage of political campaigns and other electoral events.

But the applicants challenged the registration and accreditation process for being illegal, and irregular and also for lack of a fully constituted Uganda Media Council.

They further argued that the registration of journalists by the Media Council of Uganda,  without an operational National Institute of Journalists of Uganda to enroll journalists under the Press and Journalist Act, is illegal.

Court heard that the under the Press and Journalist Act, the Uganda  Media council is only supposed to issue practicing certificates to journalists who have presented certificates of enrollment issued by the National Institute of Journalists of Uganda (NIJU and paid the prescribed fees.

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