Attacks on the media

Acts of intimidation and violence against reporters are an almost daily occurrence in Uganda. The security services, which are the leading press freedom violators, often target journalists and detain them arbitrarily, as was the case with several journalists investigating trafficking in fake medicines in 2019. Any criticism of the authorities can result in journalists being beaten, abducted or deprived of their equipment with impunity. Uganda’s president for the past 35 years, Yoweri Museveni, tolerates no criticism and often uses hate speech in his references to the media, as in a 2018 press conference when he called journalists “parasites”. His reelection in early 2021 was preceded by an especially repressive campaign in which RSF logged more than 40 attacks on journalists and media in the final weeks. The authorities censored by cutting off the Internet and practised disinformation, describing some journalists as CIA agents. The persecution of journalists has been reinforced since June 2017 by the creation of a special team of state security officers and IT experts to scan posts on Facebook and other social networks for criticism of the government. Since 2018, use of social media is subject to a daily tax, the first of its kind in Africa, one that further undermines journalists and media outlets. Facebook has even suspended certain accounts held by officials and government sympathisers, accusing them of “manipulating the public debate”. Charges of treason under the criminal code, which carry a heavy sentence, are often used to gag the media. It is not uncommon for the authorities to intervene directly to block the broadcasting of TV reports. In 2019, the police raided three commercial radio stations to cut short interviews with the opposition leader.

in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index



125 in 2020

Global score


40.95 in 2020

  • 0
    journalists killed in 2022
  • 0
    citizens journalists killed in 2022
  • 0
    media assistants killed in 2022
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