Introduction

This Petition is brought under Article 137 (1), (2), (3) and (4) of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda and the Constitution Court (Petition and Reference) Rules 2005, Statutory Instrument No.91 of 2005.

Background

The Petitioner (CEPIL) instituted this suit to challenge the provisions of the Press and Journalist Act, Cap 105 which are in contravention of and/or inconsistent with the 1995 Constitution of Uganda. CEPIL further contends that the use of the internet, especially social media and other similar digital platforms by ordinary citizens, to receive and impart information violates Article 29(a) and 41(1). The particular sections of the Press and Journalist Act, cap 105 which are subject to the challenge are set out as follows This Petition is brought under Article 137 (1), (2), (3) and (4) of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda and the Constitution Court (Petition and Reference) Rules 2005, Statutory Instrument No.91 of 2005.

Section 1 (h) restricts the definition of a journalist to a person enrolled as such under the Act.

  1. Section 9 (e) prohibits appointment of an editor without requisite qualification prescribed by the Media Council
  2. Section 15 (2)a restrict full membership of the National Institute of Journalists of Uganda to holders of university degree in Journalism or Mass communication
  3. Section 16 (1) and (3) vests the institute with powers to determine who is eligible to practice the journalism profession
  4. Section 27 (3) and (4) prohibits any person from practicing journalism without being enrolled under the Act and having a valid practicing certificate thereby certificate
  5. Section 28 (a) prohibits grants of a practicing certificate to a person not enrolled under the Act.

The petition is accompanied by an affidavit of Francis Obonyo the Petition’s programmes officer who is an ardent believer in freedom of expression and a keen promoter of media freedom and these tenets are deeply valued by the Petitioner organization.

In this petition therefore, the petitioner prays that the Honorable Court may;- grant a declaration that the impugned section above of the Press and Journalists Act, 105 are unconstitutional hence null and void, and also grant an order expunging some of the impugned sections from the Act.