More belated conference blogging, but Maria Burnett of Human Rights Watch offered up an interesting observation about the Ugandan media at a recent OSI event on Museveni’s increasingly undemocratic rule. As she noted, the degree of press freedom allowed to English-language media is often favorably commented upon – but newspapers and radio broadcasts in local languages are significantly more constrained, and this has largely escaped scrutiny by the international community. This is really a clever way of controlling information flow to ordinary citizens whilst still maintaining the appearance of openness. I’d be interested to hear any thoughts readers might have on this observation.
I took this photo in Kampala in early 2009 precisely because I was struck by the diversity of Uganda’s print journalism in comparison to Rwanda’s tightly controlled media. It’s a shame to hear that this openness isn’t as thoroughgoing as it appeared.