Any person aggrieved by any publication or media organization may make a written complaint to the Media Council of Uganda setting out the grounds for the complaint and the remedy sought.

This law was enacted in 1995 by the National Resistance Council that acted as the National Assembly of the Republic of Uganda. In 2000, it was proclaimed an Act of Parliament. Its commencement on 28 July 1995 repealed the Newspaper and
Publications Act Cap 305 and the Press Censorship and Correction Act Cap 306 both of which were colonial laws.

The promoters of The Press and Journalist Act in 1995 argued that it was intended to professionalize journalism just like the legal and the medical profession by creating structures and processes through which one can become a journalist and practice journalism as a profession. According to the promoters, the law was to make the practice of journalism better, get rid of the ‘quacks’ and make it a preserve for the educated.

The preamble of the Act partly provides that “An Act to ensure freedom of the press…” however, the content and provisions of the law unjustifiably restrict freedom of expression which include the freedom of the press and pose a seriousnthreat to the right to seek, receive and impart information.

The Act is a danger to the right to communication which is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda. It criminalizes practice of journalism without a practicing certificate issued by a statutory body under the control of the minister of Information; it conscripts journalists into one association and sets an onerous process of enrolling as a journalist before receiving a practicing certificate. The law defines a journalist as ‘a person who has enrolled as journalist under the law’.

Open Cases


One is required to fill out Complaint Form 1, available at the Media Council secretariat and on its website, setting out the grounds for the complaint, nature of the injury or damage suffered and the remedy sought.

The complaint should be made within Nine (9) months from the date of the publication or other action.

Upon receipt of a complaint, the Complaints Commission shall notify, in writing, the party against whom the complaint has been made, within fourteen-days of receipt of the complaint, stating the nature of the complaint, the breach of act or omission complained of and the date on which the matter shall be considered by the Commission.

The notice referred shall require the person against whom the complaint is made to respond to the complaint in writing or appear before it at the hearing of the complaint.

After considering each party’s submissions, the Commission shall then conduct a preliminary assessment to determine the admissibility or otherwise of the complaints lodged within fourteen days.

After undertaking a preliminary assessment of the Matter the Commission and being of the opinion that the complaint is devoid of merit or substance, dismiss such complaint with reasons.


Where the Commission considers there is a breach of the Act or Code it may facilitate an early resolution of the complaint by a referral to an inter parties mediation process within fourteen days.

The mediation process shall be voluntary, private and confidential.


Where the mediation fails or the parties or either of them objects to any mediation efforts, the Commission shall set down the complaint for a full hearing.

After hearing a complaint, the Commission may issue any decision as it deems appropriate and give directions in connection with the complaint.

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