Target: Ugandan Information Minister Mary Karooro Okurut
Goal: Protect the freedom of the press in Uganda
Ugandan police have forced two newspapers and two radio stations to shut down while they conducted a search, and have kept them shut since. The government’s practice of repressing freedom of expression has been going on for years. Many believe that the newspapers and radio stations were shut down because of an article that appeared in the Daily Monitor, Uganda’s largest independent English language newspaper. The article detailed a plot for the current President’s son to take over when and if his father steps down. The police response of shutting down the paper evidences that the plot is real, and efforts by the government to censor the papers should draw international criticism.
Since the article was published, police have also interrogated journalists, sought a court order for the author of the article to reveal its source, defied a court order to allow the papers to reopen, dodged the service of said court order and arrested peaceful protestors outside of the Daily Monitor’s offices. All of these actions are violations of the freedom of expression, a basic but very important human right.
Ugandan law still restricts the number of people who can legally be journalists and allows the government to revoke journalist licenses without notice. The government controls the regulatory committees that govern such matters and they regulate the media with an iron hand. The government must face international pressure before the ability to criticize the government is completely taken away. Sign this petition and ensure the freedom of expression in Uganda.
Dear Mary Karooro Okurut,
I am very concerned about the safety of freedom of expression in Uganda. The recent closing of newspapers and radio stations in your country due to a story in the Daily Monitor is reprehensible. Denying the freedom of the press will no doubt bring negative attention to your country by the international community. Perhaps economic sanctions will be imposed if such behavior continues.
I urge you to allow these papers and radio stations to reopen so that the people of Uganda may experience their full human rights. Doing so will only benefit the economic and social status of your country and prevent any international backlash against your government.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: US CIA via Wikimedia Commons