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Foreign journalists cry foul over govt accreditation

Foreign journalists are crying foul over what what they perceive as Uganda government's targeted refusal to accredit them to cover events in the country.
 
Section 29(1) of the Press and Journalists Act requires all foreign journalists who wish to report from Uganda to get accreditation from the Media Council of Uganda through the Uganda Media Center.

The accreditation is considered complete if the journalist pays the specified fees and is issued a card. Foreign journalists applying for accreditation are expected to present a cover letter from their employer; addressed to the executive director Uganda Media Center (UMC) stating the purpose of their visit, two passport size photographs, and scanned copy of their passport, filled in form G.

 

Those who intend to stay a period of not less than 3 months pay Shs 600,000 while those who wish to stay beyond 3 to six months pay Shs 800,000. However, the Foreign Correspondents Association in Uganda (FCAU) says at least 10 foreign journalists been denied accreditation by government since August this year despite following the laid down procedures.

According to the association, although the process has been quick and straight forward in the past, applicants are now being tossed around by the Media Council. The association notes that it is unfortunate that this is happening at a time when rights of the media in Uganda are being violated.

"FCAU is also concerned that this action comes at a time when journalists in Uganda are experiencing a much tougher working environment following the arrest of Kyadondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu last month," reads a statement from FCAU.

 
Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine was arrested on August 14 alongside over 32 others on allegations of stoning President Yoweri Museveni's vehicle in Arua on August 13. His driver Yasin Kawuma was shot dead and following his arrest and alleged torture, media lenses from across the globe focused on Uganda's human rights violations especially in the handling of the countrywide protests that broke out. Government has since maintained that the protests are being financed by foreign countries and agents. 
 
A journalist from Europe said that she has been chasing her accreditation for close to a month in vain.
 
"Still no accreditation, I am told they have frozen the process and I may have to leave soon. They won't give out any accreditation and they just told me out of pity when I begged them that officially all accreditations are under review," she said. 

URN has also learnt that some Ugandan journalists who correspond for foreign media also don't have accreditation, except those who had valid cards. However the executive director of Uganda Media Centre, Ofwono Opondo denies claims that government has stopped accrediting foreign journalists, saying it has only tightened the process, adding that this has nothing to do with the coverage of Bobi Wine and related protests. 

He says they have been accrediting journalists after providing the identity card of their news organization and letters from their regional bureaus but they have changed the process to include background checks.

 
"Let them confirm to us that you're actually a citizen of that country. For the case of European countries, they are better because when you send their the passport it's in their data system. When they click a button, it will show that this person is Scandinavian, this is their profession and this is where he has been. For African countries, it's a bit difficult because our systems are not synchronized. We do the obvious one - which is running intelligence background check. Are you really a journalist or are you a spy of a certain country or any other organization and is hiding behind a journalist? Of course that is usually very difficult." said Opondo. 

Asked whether they have turned away any journalists, Opondo said he had personally cleared several journalists in the last few days. 

"The only problem I know, particularly people who come from Western Europe, they think that Africa is their backyard."

Comments   

+5 #1 Lakwena 2018-09-13 15:27
In other words, including the sycophants: Uganda is entering the Labyrinth of a full blown dictatorship and tyranny; from which every Ugandan has to extricate him/herself.

The good news is: it also one of the characteristics that marks the beginning of the end of a regime of torture, random violence, the terror of imprisonment and murder.
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+4 #2 Lakwena 2018-09-13 15:36
Hail Mary! I am beginning to pity Ofwono Opondo.

The man has to lie his way to hell, in order to stay alive and feed his family.

Oh God, isn't there a moment when a normal and reasonable person/human being can come to a point, where he/she says: being dishonest is not good for the self/mental/physical health and the people I relate with?
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+5 #3 Phalanch 2018-09-13 16:20
Ladies and Gentlemen the tyrant is cornered and has entered his twilight zone a point of no return.

Thanks to People Power Our power across the entire world Uganda is looking close to achieve.
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+1 #4 Akot 2018-09-13 18:50
Quoting Phalanch:
Ladies and Gentlemen the tyrant is cornered and has entered his twilight zone a point of no return.

Thanks to People Power Our power across the entire world Uganda is looking close to achieve.


I pray so & the only way Ugandans can bring this insanity to an end is through UNITY or the demon will just go on eliminating they 1 by 1, small groups, tribes...that defy him!

But TOGETHER as ONE, Ugandans will leave no choice to Musevnei but to leave!

But of course, tribal leaders MUST stand down & bring to crumbles the triblistic system, to give chance to UNITY!

Because even without acommon opposition leadership as it is, UNITY of Ugandans will throw Museveni out & each tribe will then mind their business, as parliament will also be no more!
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+1 #5 Akot 2018-09-13 18:58
Quoting Lakwena:
... including the sycophants: Uganda is entering the Labyrinth of a full blown dictatorship and tyranny; from which every Ugandan has to extricate him/herself.

The good news is: it also one of the characteristics that marks the beginning of the end of a regime of torture, random violence, the terror of imprisonment and murder.


Agreed, yet,

It's up to Ugandans to make their statement or Musevnei will only get more evil!

Power has corrupted Museveni to a point of no return & unless Ugandans UNITE against him, he will reduce them to NOTHING while enjoying it!

UNITY will throw Musevni out then Ugandans will go for:

- Reformation of the Republic, or

- Independent tribal States!

Why keep Musevnei in place through the tribalistic system when not 1 tribe has a say in even tribal land, while all land riches belong to Museveni, more so in a zone he has no tribal land in?
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+2 #6 Jama 2018-09-14 01:56
A stalinian kind of dictatorship in the centre of Africa, trying to combat truth.
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+1 #7 Lysol 2018-09-14 20:31
Back in the day of Amin we used to get news from Kenya through the BBC.

With the social media now the regime is wasting it time on nonsense.
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