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Adjumani District Council Wants Journalists Accredited

Markot Taibot, a reporter of Radio Pacis and member of West Nile Press Association based in Adjumani district, says the move is aimed at eliminating some critical journalists from accessing information from the council.

Audio 2

Media practitioners in Adjumani are protesting the recent resolution by the district to accredit all journalists seeking to cover council proceedings. 

On October 25th, 2016, Dominic Idro Tako, the Adjumani District Speaker circulated a letter containing a  resolution requiring all media houses to submit names of journalists assigned to cover council business.

The move is reportedly aimed at harmonizing the working relationship between Adjumani district local government and media houses. The district has had frosty relations with some journalists accuses of biased reporting. 

Journalists have condemned the new resolution, saying it is an attempt by the district council to usurp the powers of media houses and their operations.

Markot Taibot, a reporter of Radio Pacis and member of West Nile Press Association based in Adjumani district, says the move is aimed at eliminating some critical journalists from accessing information from the council. He says as a journalist, he will oppose the proposal without fear or favour.

Clement Aluma, the chairperson West Nile Press Association says as the umbrella body of journalists operating in the region, they will not negotiate on the move to accredit journalists. He says any attempts to deny journalists access to information goes against the constitution, which guarantees press freedom.

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The Human Rights Network for Journalists Uganda has also condemned the move by the district council. Robert Sempala, the National Coordinator for the network says as human rights defenders, they will never allow people who don't understand how governance systems work to abuse press freedom in the country.

He says the network will stand with West Nile journalists in their pursuit of justice for their members. Sempala says the immediate thing media practitioners can do, is to announce a Black out on the council and expose their wrong deeds.

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Sempala says this is not the first incidence where a district council is in conflict with journalists. In 2013, the then Kitgum district chairperson, Luka Nyeko ran into trouble with journalists when he chased them away from covering district meetings and council sessions. 

The chairperson accused the journalists of being opposition supporters, yet the government in power was NRM. HRNJ-U moved into mediate the conflict forcing the council to overturn its decision.

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