Journalists, cartoonists, and activists in Uganda face intense pressure, threats and criminal charges from authorities and are forced, especially in rural areas, to carry out their work in an environment of widespread impunity. In the last five years, over 600 cases of violations against journalists were recorded, involving both State and non-state actors.
The criminalisation of LGBTI people in Uganda also constitutes a severe and discriminatory violation of free expression. LGBTI people are subject to attack, and media seen as ‘glorifying homosexuality’ has been subject to bans.
Political opposition is subject to repression, and social media has been subject to shutdowns. The Official Secrets Act still exists on the statutes and has proved one of several barriers to full implementation of Access to Information Law.
ARTICLE 19’s work on protection in Uganda includes providing support for journalists, media workers and human rights defenders under threat. Special emphasis has been placed on the digital security needs for women journalists as they face disproportionately higher levels of attacks compared to men. We also work with partners to train media regulators to ensure that any decisions taken are within the bounds of international human rights law. We also work to ensure the ATI law is fully implemented, and advocate for the repeal of repressive laws restricting expression.