The Media Council of Uganda was established by Section 8 (1) of the Press and Journalist Act, Cap 105 and charged with regulation of the Mass Media. The objective of the Law is to ensure the freedom and responsibility of the press, and regulate the Mass Media.
Membership of the Media Council
Under Section 8 (2) thereof, the Council membership is drawn from members of the public with an impeccable record as follows:
- The Director of Information or a senior officer from the Ministry responsible for information, who is also the Secretary to the Council;
- Two distinguished scholars in mass communication appointed by the Minister in consultation with the National Institute of Journalists of Uganda (NIJU);
- One representative nominated by the Uganda Newspaper Proprietors and Editors Association (UNEPA);
- Four representatives of whom two represent the electronic media and two represent NIJU;
- Four members of the public not being journalists, who are persons of proven integrity and good repute, of whom two are nominated by the Minister, one by UNEPA and one by the journalists; and
- A distinguished practicing lawyer nominated by the Uganda Law Society.
The Chairperson of the Council is elected by the members from among themselves.
Members of the Council hold office for a period of three years upon such terms and conditions as specified in the instruments of appointment and are eligible for reappointment.
A member of the Council may resign his or her office in writing, addressed to the Chairperson and in case of the Chairperson, to the Minister.
Under Section 9 of the Act, the Council has the following functions:
- To regulate the conduct and promote good ethical standards and discipline of journalists;
- To arbitrate disputes between the public and the media, and the State and the media;
- To exercise disciplinary control over journalists, editors and publishers;
- To promote, generally, the flow of information;
- To censor films, videotapes, plays and other related apparatuses for public consumption; and
- To exercise any function that may be authorised or required by any law.
The council is further empowered under Section 29 to accredit foreign journalists who intend to carry out any act of journalism in Uganda.
The Media Council specialises in the following:
- Mass Media Regulation
- Press freedom advocacy
- Disciplinary control
- Film classification
The Disciplinary Committee is established under Section 30 of the Press Journalist Act, Cap 105. Its functions include exercising disciplinary control over journalists, editors and publishers, and to arbitrating disputes between the public and the media, and the state and the media.
The Committee consists of:
- The Chairperson of the Media Council as its Chairperson;
- The Secretary to the Media Council as its Secretary; and
- Four Members elected by the Council from among themselves.
The Committee, when hearing disciplinary cases, appoints an advocate of not less than five years’ standing to advise the disciplinary committee.
Four members of the committee form a quorum.