KAMPALA – The government of Uganda has toughened the conditions for foreign journalists who intends to cover the forthcoming 2021 general elections with more restrictions.
Speaking to reporters at Uganda media center, Jacob Siminyu, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Internal Affairs has said that apart from having official media credential card issued by Uganda media center as it has been in the past, all foreign journalists must get the temporary working permits and a special pass.
He says that the special passes that takes three- five days under the normal circumstances will be requiring a renewal from the accreditors once a journalist requires more days. According to Siminyu this has been put in place to avoid people from doing other things unrelated to what they were accredited for while entering Uganda.
But a foreign journalist who covered the 2016 elections speaking to URN on condition of anonymity said the government is doing everything possible to bar more foreign journalists coming to the country.
He said that in the past elections, only a media credential card issued by the Media Council was required to cover the elections compared to this time where a lot of things are being asked.
“Nowadays we see journalists being deported day in day out, even if having some of these credentials. The Government is doing everything possible to avoid outside scrutiny of the January 14 elections,” said the journalist.
Earlier this month, Uganda deported journalists attached to CBC News, a Canadian public broadcaster, who were in the country to cover the 2021 General Election. The journalists included Margaret Evans, Lily Martin and Jean-Francois Bisson, a videographer.
On why the journalists were deported despite the fact that they held accreditation cards from the Media Council of Uganda, Ofwono Opondo the government spokesman said the journalists were accredited to cover COVID-19 and Tourism in Bwindi Forest but were found doing other things different to what they were accredited for.