Index 2024
128/ 180
Score : 46
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator
Index 2023
133/ 180
Score : 46.08
Political indicator
Economic indicator
Legislative indicator
Social indicator
Security indicator

Journalists in Uganda face intimidation and violence on a nearly daily basis. They are regularly targeted by the security services, the leading perpetrators of attacks against reporters in the country.

Media landscape

Uganda has 301 radio stations, more than 30 TV channels, two daily newspapers and a weekly newspaper. Although the majority of media outlets are privately owned, the government maintains tight control over many owned by politicians, businesses, or pastors affiliated with the government. The leading privately owned media companies include Nation Media Uganda, which owns the NTV Uganda channel and the Daily Monitor newspaper, among others, and Next Media Services, which owns the NBS TV channel and Next Radio station, among others. The state broadcasting company is UBC TV. Pay TV platforms are also widely available in the country.

Political context

The political situation has a strong influence on journalism in Uganda. Journalists who demand accountability from the government are either pushed out of their jobs with no legal procedure, or are forced to censor themselves or run stories favourable to the authorities. President Museveni does not tolerate criticism and often subjects the media to hateful comments, as do his allies. In 2023, he claimed to have sent people to “monitor” the Daily Monitor, the country’s leading daily newspaper, which he already had threatened to push into bankruptcy in 2021. The situation has been aggravated by the emergence of Museveni’s son as a political and military actor who does not hesitate to threaten journalists he regards as critical. The media regulator is directly controlled by the government.

Legal framework

Although guaranteed by the constitution, freedom of the press is hampered by numerous laws, including ones concerning fraudulent digital activities, anti-terrorism and public order. In 2021, the Constitutional Court rejected appeals of journalists’ associations against draconian provisions in the media law. A law on access to information does exist, but journalists face many obstacles when they request information of public interest. In October 2022, the president signed a bill amending the Computer Misuse Act and criminalising, among other things, the publication of “fake news”, but the Constitutional Court struck down this provision in early 2023.

Economic context

Journalists are among the country’s worst-paid professionals. Employment contracts are rare, and only a few reporters earn more than 200 dollars (about 180 euros) a month. Their financial insecurity makes them susceptible to corruption.

Sociocultural context

Several media outlets belong to religious groups, some of which are aligned with the government, such as the Pentecostal movement, very influential in the country, which includes the president’s wife and daughter in its ranks.


Journalists, especially those who criticise the authorities and the country’s human rights record, face a range of reprisals that include violence, abduction, arrest and confiscation of equipment. Yoweri Museveni’s reelection for a sixth term in 2021 followed an especially oppressive election campaign that saw more than 40 attacks against media outlets and journalists. The pursuit of journalists has increased since the creation, in June 2017, of a unit of security officers and high-tech experts responsible, among other things, for monitoring journalists’ profiles on social media. Reporters are also often subjected to targeted attacks during protests and political events.