Free Legal Services: ULS to Establish Pro Bono Fund for Journalists

  • by Mary Ociiti
  • February 27, 2024


In a bid to promote media rights in the country, the Uganda Law Society (ULS) has expressed its intentions to establish a pro bono fund for journalists across the country. Pro bono refers to services that are rendered by a professional for free.

This information was revealed by the President of the legal fraternity Bernard Oundo during the Editor’s Guild Dinner on Friday 23rd/February/2024 at Golden Tulip Hotel in Kampala. This event was organized by Metropolitan Republic in Partnership Stanbic Bank, Uganda Law Society, Uganda Airlines.

According to Oundo, this is the only way the Law Society can promote press freedom that has in several circumstances been curtailed by some influential government officials and agencies.

Oundo added that the media plays a crucial role in our society, serving as a watchdog to ensure accountability, transparency, and protection of the public interest therefore it’s important for them to feel protected while executing this mandate.

“We are living in interesting times where the legal aspect is evolving, our world is changing and as guardians of the rule of law, the Uganda Law Society is committed to fostering a legal environment that is just, fair, and accessible to all,” Oundo said adding that all that can’t be achieved without the media.

He hailed the organizers of the editors’ guild dinner citing that it’s in forums like these that we can deepen the knowledge on critical issues such as the rule of law, human rights, access to justice, independence of justice and not leaving other key aspects that concern our people and our country at large.

He added that more training will be conducted by the Uganda Law Society in partnership with stakeholders like the Uganda Media Council so that they can walk on the same page.

“The next thing we want to do in collaboration with the media is to establish a pro bono for journalists. Apart from the training like this one held today led by Mr. Paul Ekochu, Chairman Media Council, we are going to discuss more with the Editors’ Guild so that our lawyers can represent journalists free of charge. We believe that way, we foster freedom of speech.” Oundo said calling upon the media to also promote legal literacy.

He highlighted that the more education we have on legal literacy, the better for all of us.

Responsible Journalism

Oundo also emphasized the importance of responsible journalism, citing that while the media serves as a check on power, this power must be exercised with a sense of responsibility and integrity.

To drive his point home, the President shared a quote by prominent BBC journalist Zain Verjee, “A commitment to truth, tenacity, and bold resolve in chasing the story is a must. Creativity and judgment are vital in crafting a narrative that is compelling, informative, and educational. It is about shedding light, not about generating heat.”

Oundo echoed the need to work together to ensure that the stories the media publishes are not only compelling but also accurate and fair.

“Through open dialogue and collaboration, we can build a legal framework that truly serves the needs and aspirations of the people of Uganda.” He said.

Kenneth Agutamba, the Stanbic Bank head of reputation and communication challenged journalists to borrow a leaf from the legal fraternity strategy of the spirit of the law. He said its high time the media also amplified its spirit of journalism in order to counter the spread of fake news especially on online platforms.

About Uganda ULS.
The Uganda Law Society is an association of lawyers charged with ensuring high levels of professionalism among lawyers in Uganda. ULS runs on a mission of developing a skilled and empowered legal profession in the execution of its statutory mandate to foster and improve access to and administration of justice as well as good governance in Uganda. It promotes members’ professional development and ethical conduct and enables access to justice through its Legal Aid Project (LAP) for the Indigent, marginalized, and vulnerable persons in Uganda through representing clients in court, sensitization of the masses in legal matters, and offering legal advice.