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