Playing by the rules is media freedom

By Gertrude Too-rom

The Chairperson of the Media Council of Uganda, Mr Paul Ekochu, has said that the presence of media freedom does not exclude journalists from playing by the rules of the state.

“Part of exercising freedom is the ability to adhere to the rules set by the state.

“This means that it is the duty of the media to maintain law and order as they perform their role,” he said.

During a lecture organized for the third-year students of mass communication department on September 15 at UCU, Mukono, Mr Ekochu said that the reach of the media is so wide and deep that its control is necessary.

Ekochu explained that among the many regulations in place for media practice in Uganda is the Press and Journalism Act, and the Computer Misuse Act.

“Some of these laws not only protects the journalists but the people they serve as well. So it is important to abide by them, and lawfully work to change the oppressive ones,” he said.

Ekochu cited other media controls, for example those exercised by advertisers, and told the students that the Media Council is working on by-laws that regulate the amount of power advertisers have.

“MTN Uganda is one of the biggest advertisers in Uganda and if you notice, nothing wrong is written about them in any of the media. So we shall regulate that power,” Ekochu said.

He thanked UCU’s mass communication department for inviting him “to speak to young, upcoming journalists because they are the future of the media.”

Mr Ekochu is an executive member of the National Association of Broadcasters, and also a legal practitioner with GP Advocates and Solicitors

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