Uganda Church leaders oppose "protocol" law

Church leaders in Uganda are protesting government plans to introduce regulations that would require a "respectful" attitude toward government institutions and political leaders.

The proposed National Protocol Guidelines are a response to what political leaders see as "verbal abuse" on local radio stations. President Yoweri Museveni has regularly complained about the harsh criticism he receives on the airwaves. But religious leaders fear that the guidelines could be used to stifle religious dissent from national policies.

The first of the casualty of the laws is expected to be the Jehovah's Witnesses, whose faith teaches them not to honor earthly governments or national flags or anthems. But Catholic and Anglican bishops in Uganda, who believe that they have an obligation to speak out against injustice, believe that they will eventually be affected by the new regulations.