Judiciary Considering Banning Media in Courtrooms

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Supreme Court Session. File Photo

The Chief Justice His Lordship Bart Katureebe has said it is time for stakeholders in the judicial system to start considering shutting media out of Court proceedings as a means to curb what he described as “drama” currently happening in Courts of law.

Speaking today during a training workshop of judicial officers and advocates on court rules and procedures recently issued to practitioners of law, Justice Bart Katureebe said the conversation within learned friends should now focus on sanitizing practice of law, and protecting the integrity of the profession which is currently at risk.

Justice Katureebe expressed dismay over the conduct of some advocates who instead of addressing Court, choose to address the media, dramatize proceedings of Court, and eventually incite the public to disrespect Courts.

“I think time has come for us to start a conversation on how we conduct ourselves in the Courts of law. Probably we should start discussing whether we should have continued use of media and cameras in the Courtrooms. It is sad to see a counsel not addressing the Court but addressing the press. His argument not about what is before the court, but what he wants to put out to the public!” said the Chief Justice.

Justice Katureebe said, it is sad to see lawyers come out of court and address press conferences to insult and denigrate judges as people cheer and chant.

“What sort of law are we practicing? I think it is something we need to start thinking about as law practitioners because what is happening in this country is not right” Katureebe fumed.

He said there is need to study and adopt a practice in some countries where court jurisdictions are limited to use of artists who draw out paintings and impressions of what happened in Court, instead of having what may turn out to be drama.

He referred to incidents of misconduct that happened in Nakawa High Court and Buganda Road Magistrate’s Court, when angry supporters of defendants abused Courts of law saying the practice must be curtailed in order to protect the integrity of the profession.

Justice Katureebe implored lawyers, judges and advocates to respect Courts of law and always regard them as their workplaces where they derive livelihoods, which he said will in turn, earn them respect.

“People thinking that it is alright when you are a political group that you can come into courts and sing and shout at the magistrate; are we as advocates ok with that? And you think you do not bear some responsibility? If we don’t respect courts ourselves, why would people trust and respect us?”  Justice Katureebe queried.

He however urged participants to focus on actualization of delivery of justice to the public because that’s what Ugandans are yearning for.

Last week, a trial magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu was pelted in the face with an empty water bottle suspected to have been flung by angry supporters of Dr. Stella Nyanzi who was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison for harassing the President using social media.  

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