Rebel voices and radio actors: in pursuit of dialogue and debate in northern Uganda

This paper seeks to understand the restrictions media actors face in their day-to-day work in Acholiland, northern Uganda, and identify the strategies they adopt to maintain a space for dialogue and debate. Two case studies reveal that it is difficult to see how media actors in this conflict environment can play a significant role in holding the ruling government to account and promoting peace building when they are facing repressive media laws, intimidation, a lack of information, and weak managerial support. This paper calls for policies to support the daily struggles of media actors, such as the adoption of the African Peer Review Mechanism – an instrument used for self-monitoring by participant countries of New Partnership for Africa’s Development. Thus, the investigation turns away from questions of censorship to investigating what can be done to support the daily struggles of media actors who are constantly negotiating their way through a labyrinth of restrictions.