Ambassador Hennekens: Ugandan Media Freedom Vital for Country

2253 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The Ambassador of Netherlands Alphons Hennekens has said that the press has a responsibility to address issues that affect their community and what is going on in government and other circles.

The Ambassador of Netherlands Alphons Hennekens has said that the press has a responsibility to address issues that affect their community and what is going on in government and other circles.
 
He noted that though the Ugandan’s government has the majority number in parliament, this does not necessarily mean that it is automatically right.
 
Hennekens said that there should be alternative views and a healthy press and opposition are important because it is clearly indicated in the Constitution of Uganda.
 
He, however, cautioned that freedom of the press does not mean absolute freedom and urged the press to report accurately and responsibly for its freedom to be guaranteed and upheld.
 
He revealed that they are having discussions with the government in order that the freedom of press is respected.
 
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President Yoweri Museveni during his 2013 State of the Nation Address repeatedly attacked the media and vibrant Opposition Members of Parliament for what they write and talk about the government.
 
In particular Museveni said that The Daily Monitor News Paper and The East African were wrong when they disputed the achievements of the government listed by the president in the 2012 State of the Nation Address.
 
The president insisted that such comments from the press actually indicated the effectiveness of government. He went on to describe such media and opposition politicians as enemies and jealous of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) achievements. 
 
Museveni further noted that government work cannot be done at once but rather takes time citing that God did not create the world in one day but took His time to achieve the best.
 
But the leader of Opposition Nandala Mafabi said that the president was being escapist in attacking the media and opposition during his State of Nation Address.
 
Mafabi said that Daily Monitor's criticism of the president's 2012 nation address actually exposed his many promises without fulfilment.
 
He added that the opposition are doing an audit about the performance of the president in the last 20 years, containing his pledges and what he has managed to fulfil.
 
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Opposition MP Paul Mwiru of Jinja Municipality said that the President was trying to divert the opposition during the address and he did not take him seriously because it is upon the opposition to talk of what government has failed to do.
 
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