By Ruth Anderah
The High Court has set 14th January 2021 the gazetted national polling day to deliver a ruling in a case filed by Editors challenging a decision by the Media Council to accredit journalists for coverage of this year’s elections and other state functions.
Justice Esther Nambayo says she will give her decision via e-mail in which both national and foreign journalists will know their fate regarding coverage of the presidential and parliamentary elections.
This followed today’s meeting between the judge and lawyer representing the editors Francis Gimara and the Attorney General’s representative Geoffrey Madette whom she ordered to file written submissions by Wednesday afternoon.
The Editors Guild Ltd and Centre for Public Interest Law sued the Attorney General, questioning the December 10th (2020) directive by the Uganda Media Council to have all journalists who are going to cover this year’s National Elections accredited by December 31st 2020.
This prompted the Editors led by their interim chairperson Daniel Kalinaki to take on the Media council which they accuse of lacking the mandate to accredit journalists as such powers are vested in the now dysfunctional National Institute of Journalists.
These therefore contend that it was wrong and irrational for the Media Council to issue such directives as its role is limited to licensing practicing editors.
The Editors further question the constitutionality of the Media Council to issue directives yet it lacks the requisite quorum of seven members to perform its duties and as such; court should restrain police and the Electoral Commission from enforcing the illegal directive.