Journalists in Uganda Call for Solidarity on Indonesian Impending Defamation Conviction

Statement from the Uganda Journalists Union (UJU)

On behalf of the Uganda Journalists Union (UJU) and the entire Ugandan Journalism fraternity we are appealing to the Indonesian Government to remove defamation from criminal jurisdiction and let the journalists sets free.

The law does not only make journalism practice a nightmare in Indonesia but also makes prevalent the highest degree of Human Rights Violation. By denying Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression, Indonesian authorities are denying the people of Indonesia the right to access to information, which is a human right.

We in Uganda feel that Indonesia should not be left out in the new wave of media law reforms in the world where most countries have and are striking off draconian provisions and clauses of defamation from criminal jurisdiction.

Indonesia must ensure that draconian laws that are embedded at curtailing Press Freedom and muzzling freedom of expression must be delt with in totality. Justice must not only be observed but should also be seen as being administered.

Journalists have suffered alot in the last two years with civial unrest in MiddleEast, Eastern Europe, Europe, Latin America and Africa, and the world can therefore not just sit and observe more upheaveals unfolding and threatening the existence of Journalists.

We must strive at all times to protect our members against oppressive governments that have now and then directed wrath on the journalists simply because the media stands for the truth and justice . We must fight oppressive laws at all times, what is happening in Indonesia today, happened in Uganda yesterday and will happen in Kenya tomorrow. Draconian Press Laws are the same the world over, so let us fight them collectively.

Stephen Ouma Bwire

General Secretary - Uganda Journalists Union (UJU) / East African Journalists Association (EAJA)

Kampala - August 12 - 2004