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THE PROJECT IS FOR THE FULFILLMENT OF A CLEMODULE TO DESIGN A POCKET HANDBOOK ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IN UGANDA

 

Freedom of expression is one of the ancient and most  important of rights and is often touted as the cornerstone of  every free and democratic society. That notwithstanding this right is one of the most violated in many countries and its full realization is a continuous struggle for many states.

The state is usually at the center of the violation of this right through use of its  legislative ,Law enforcement and security agencies especially in restricting voices of dissent .

In the case of Uganda, freedom of expression is and has always been under threat by the state as this handbook will show. A classic example is when President Idi Amin Dada said “there is freedom of speech, but I cannot guarantee freedom after speech.” This statement made it clear that anyone can say whatever they want to say but they should be sure that the state will always “punish” them for what they say.

The state has enacted laws that have trumpled the freedom of expression and put all platforms of communication under its firm grip. Taxes and license requirements have been introduced in the name of regulating the communication and technology sector yet a keen look at such laws makes it clear that they are aimed at silencing any views or ideas that threaten the status quo. The arrest and detention of people on the basis of expression through writings, music or speech has become notorious and the brutal confrontation of any protestorswith is the prevalent state policy.

Uganda has in the past struggled against the forces of tyranny, oppression, political and constitutional instability as acknowledge in the preamble to the 1995 Constitution. This coupled with the current violations of the freedom of expression and the state's firm grip on the various platforms of free speech, warrants education of the public about the inherent nature and broad scope of the freedom of expression. This will help in cultivating Civic responsiveness among Ugandans with the aim of empowering them to hold any violators of the freedom accountable and in so doing harness the values of a true democracy.

This handbook explains the origins of freedom of expression on both an international and national basis. It explainsthe importance of this freedom and lays out the instruments that protect and guarantee thisfreedom. The handbook showcases the international, regional and national legal framework providing for the freedom of expression. The interrelated rights of academic freedom and assembly are expounded upon in the various segments;the hand book takes a keen interest in the numerous laws that restrict the freedom of expression, their enforcement and the instances where the right has been violated by state actors and points out the avenues for seeking redress. Finally, in the handbook gaps in the laws are analyzed and recommendations and conclusions are expressed.

Enjoy.