The government has warned foreign journalists they should not be tempted to cover the forthcoming 2021 elections without accreditation.
The warning was delivered by Jacob Siminyu, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Internal of Affairs during an media briefing in Kampala recently.
Siminyu said the starn measures is aimed at increasing national security as cross border movement will be greatly restricted during elections.
The warning for journalists comes at a time when local journalists are also being asked to get acreditation from the media council.
The move has however been fiercely opposed by the journalism community as a form of suppression of freedom of the media and criticism especially given its timing around the elections.
“We want a peaceful election and we are not sure that whoever enters the country illegally may not want to disrupt our peace in the coming election process. We have to ensure that the boarders are secure,” he said
Siminyu added that whoever defies the law and decides to work illegally, will be dealt with in accordance to the law.
“If any foreign journalist is caught covering an event without a special pass, they will be deported,” he said
“Even if you are caught covering a show with a pass accredited to cover elections, still you will be dealt with,” Siminyu warned
He further cautioned the public to make only necessary travels across boarders.
“This is a festive season and we know that people will want to celebrate with others across boarders but we want to caution the public to be vigilant and work together to apprehend anyone that enters the country illegally,” Siminyu said
Meanwhile, Siminyu called upon whoever ordered for a passport in March to pick them at MIA offices.
“Please call and let us know that you didn’t pick up your passport then we can get you an appointment,” he said
He further urged the public to always observe the standard operating procedures against COVID19.
“According to the SOPs handed to us by Ministry of Health, we had to work to 30% capacity but we increased to 50%. We want to ask that whoever comes for their passport should observe social distancing. If you are told that inside is full please wait for your turn,” Siminyu added.