Media law and policy in Uganda. An appraisal on legal and policy issues in journalism in Uganda
The word "media" is adopted from the plural of the Latin word "medium". To mean news, entertainment, education, data and promotional messages are sent world-wide through this type of communication channels. Every broadcasting medium like newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, billboards, direct mail, telephone, fax and internet are part of what is the media. In Uganda a system of customary law applied in Uganda prior to Britain declaring it a protectorate in 1884 and establishing colonial administrative law throughout the territory. In Buganda, largest of the traditional kingdoms in present-day Uganda, the kabaka (king) appointed a trusted official, the katikkiro, to be in charge of the kingdoms administrative and judicial systems. The country was never fully colonized as non-Africans were not allowed to acquire freeholds. Following the rise of African nationalism, a constitutional monarchy with a government based on the British model was implemented in 1955, and in 1957 political parties emerged and direct elections were held. Uganda became an independent commonwealth nation on 9th October 1962 with Milton Obote as prime minister. Within four years, however, Obote abrogated this constitution and declared himself president under an interim constitution.5 Following an attempt on his life in 1969, Obote banned opposition political parties, leaving himself the country de facto absolute ruler. Less than two years later, on 25th January 1971, Obote was ousted in a military coup led by armed forces commander Idi Amin Dada. Amin declared himself president, dissolved parliament and amended the constitution to give himself absolute power.7 The subsequent eight years proved a reign of terror marked by political repression, ethic persecution, gross human rights abuses (including extra judicial killings) nepotism, corruption and economic mismanagement. Obote was given sanctuary by Tanzanian leader Julius Nyerere, and was joined by some 20,000 followers. A year later, a group of these exiles attempted, unsuccessfully, to invade Uganda and remove Amin, who blamed Nyerere for backing and arming his enemies. Relations between the two states remained strained for many years.