World Press Freedom Day: Media should not be sucked in by militarism – Prof. Fredrick Jjuuko

Renown Advocate and Professor of Law and Jurisprudence Prof. Fredrick Jjuuko has called on media to desist from adopting a militaristic approach to the profession but rather organise themselves to take collective action on the growing restrictions on media freedom.

“Media should not adopt militaristic terms or descriptions of what they do. When a media house describes its nerve centre as a Political Command Centre, It may seem inconsequential but the media is very influential. It should not contribute to a culture of militarism” he said.

Prof. Jjuuko made the remarks while delivering the keynote address on the Freedom of Expression and the Emerging Militarism in media at the launch of the Uganda Editors Guild on Monday, during the celebration of World Press Freedom Day in Kampala.

 “Militarism is an essential character of the political dispensation we have. Militarism must be fought but not in a militaristic way. A policy of appeasement shouldn’t be adopted. Media should not be sucked in by militarism. Do not glamourise war. By displaying all kinds of weaponry without saying what war does to the people is irresponsible, you create anticipation” he said.

Prof. Fredrick Jjuuko (M) and Danish Ambassador to Uganda NicolaJ A. Hejberg Petersen (3rd R) join members of the Uganda Editors Guild in cutting a cake to mark the launch of the body on 03/05/21. Photos / courtesy

Prof Jjuuko said militarism in media is manifested through punitive media laws, journalists arrest, killings and spies in media houses who intimate fellow journalists.

“The President (Museveni) described the media as the enemy of the state. That sets the tone. The matter runs deeper than you think. It is not enough to wine & dine with them (State) because it is not likely to be very productive” he said.

“Militarism regards political competition as enemies. It blurs the difference between police & army. It is linked to corruption especially in regard to classified budgets. It has a high sense of entitlement, great impunity” Prof Jjuuko added.

The Danish Ambassador to Uganda Hon NicolaJ A. Hejberg Petersen who represented the European Union (EU) delegation at the launch reiterated the EU’s continued support towards achieving media freedom in Uganda.

The Uganda Editors’ Guild Chairman and General Manager Editorial Nation Media Group (NMG) – Uganda, Mr Daniel Kalinaki said the body will strive to protect the rights and freedoms of media practitioners against any forms of abuse.

“We are not adversarial but we will protect our rights. We are not enemies of the state, we are citizens of the state, we have constitutional rights that we are willing to spend our lives defending & even push the envelope to defend them” he said.

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