Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urged the Ugandan government today not to implement its new anti-terrorist law until clauses jailing journalists for up to 10 years for encouraging "terrorism" were removed from it.
"This vague charge could be used against journalists who are too critical of the authorities," RSF secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. "The law must be made clearer to avoid future abuses."
According to information received by RSF the Ugandan parliament passed the new law on 20 March 2002, providing for the stiff punishment of journalists writing articles deemed to have encouraged terrorism, but it has not yet been promulgated by Yoweri Museveni. The government would have the power to dub any organisation a "terrorist group" and the new law already describes as "terrorist" several rebel movements in northern Uganda fighting against the government for the past few years. Anyone found guilty of acts of terrorism or funding terrorist organisations can be sentenced to death under the new measure.