Perception and implementation of media policy in Uganda
A human rights perspective
Freedom of the media and its safeguards are central to the discussion of the human rights perspective of media policy. Freedom of the media is a human right that facilitates the realisation of the broader freedom of expression that is more recognisable as accruing to everyone. Yet, when freedom of the media, which is part and parcel of freedom of expression, is affected even by policy decisions, the tendency is to regard it as a matter for the media industry and fraternity alone. This paper therefore points to the interrelatedness, interconnectedness, interdependence and indivisibility of human rights and analyses media policy in Uganda from the perspective of the human rights standards that Uganda has adopted through the ratification and domestication of international and regional human rights instruments. These standards were entrenched in the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda 1995 which provides the overarching framework for regulation whether by policy or legislation or administrative actions. Given that policy is about regulation and this necessitates imposing limitations on rights and freedoms, the paper expounds on State obligations and accountability on rights and freedoms; particularly the duty to respect, protect, fulfill and promote media freedom in the State’s quest to regulate it. The discussion of the media policy dwells on the need and frameworks for limitations that have been imposed on freedom of the media as well shining the spotlight on media responsibility, professionalism and industry accountability issues. Recommendations are made for actions that will enhance the realisation of media freedom even in the face of regulation.