The Ministry of Internal Affairs has asked foreign journalists to acquire special passes specifically accredited to cover elections if they are to be part of the 2021 elections media coverage teams.
Jacob Siminyu, the Ministry of Internal Affairs Spokesperson has said that apart from having official media credential cards issued by the Uganda Media Center as it has been in the past, all foreign journalists must get the temporary working permits.
The essence of the directive, he said, is to ensure that peace and calm is observed as the elections go on and avoid unnecessary riots and possible deaths.
Speaking to the press at Uganda Media Centre on Monday, Siminyu said that to have a peaceful election, safe guarding the country’s borders is crucial and should be a community obligation.
“We want a peaceful election and we are not sure that whoever enters the country illegally may not want to disrupt our peace in the coming election process. We have to ensure that the boarders are secure,” he said.
Siminyu added that whoever defies the law and is found “working illegally” will be dealt with in accordance with the law.
“If any foreign journalist is caught covering an event without a special pass, they will be deported. Even if you are caught covering a show with a pass accredited to cover elections, you will still be dealt with,” Siminyu warned.
This follows the November incident where journalists attached to CBC News, a Canadian public broadcaster who were in the country to cover the 2021 General Election were deported.
The journalists include Margaret Evans, Lily Martin and Jean-Francois Bisson, a videographer.
Siminyu further cautioned the public to make only necessary travels across borders.
“This is a festive season and we know that people will want to celebrate with others across borders but we want to caution the public to be vigilant and work together to apprehend anyone that enters the country illegally,” he said.