By Ronald Kabuye
Uganda government spokesperson also the executive director of Uganda Media Centre Ofwono Opondo has faulted Uganda Communication Commission UCC for issuing directives to 13 media houses instructing them to suspend their head of programming, producers and news managers over what it termed as failure to meet minimum broadcasting standards without giving them a fair hearing.
Speaking at the media dialogue organized by the Uganda Journalists Association(UJA) and Human Rights Network for Journalists Uganda (HRNJ-UG) on Thursday in Kampala, under the theme “ media and elections: mainstreaming journalism safety and ethics in the election cycle” Ofwono said UCC being a government agency doesn’t make it immune to making illegal directive thus imploring journalists and other human rights defenders to drag the commission to courts of laws if they feel the directives were illegal.
In the same way, the vice president UJA Mercy Namirembe Lugemwa and the Executive Director HRNJ-UG Robert Ssempala also condemned the UCC directives urging them to revoke their directives.
“As UJA we have already instructed our lawyers of Kiiza and Mugisha advocates to scrutinize this illegal, irrational and problematic directive and guide us on the way forward.
We can not just sit back and watch as UCC infringes on our rights” said Mercy Lugemwa.
The affected media houses by the directive include Akaboozi FM, BBS TV, BEAT FM, BUKEDDE FM, CAPITAL FM, CBS FM, KINGDOM TV, NBS TV, NTV, PEARL FM, SALT FM, SAPIENTIA FM AND SIMBA FM.
Ofwono also said there is no directive he knows of instructing Resident District Commissioners RDCs, District police Commanders DPCs and media houses to stop hosting big opposition political figures.
“There is no directive from government I know of instructing RDCs, DPCs, and media houses to stop media houses from hosting politicians of dissenting minds. In fact, last month President told RDCs to let opposition politicians freely speak to the public” said Ofwono.
On Friday Ugandan journalists will join the rest of the world to commemorate world press freedom day