Parliament condemns UCC order to suspend senior journalists

By Alice Lubwama

Legislators mainly from the opposition side in parliament have condemned the act of the Director of Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) ordering 13 radio stations to suspend senior journalists for covering Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi.

The matter was raised in the house by Kira municipality mp Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda, who said that Uganda was declining in terms of media freedom which has negative bearing on the tourism sector because the incidents taint the image of the country.

"You can only promote tourism by marketing a country repeatedly, but the moment you have negative coverage, even if you market your country, people who want to visit will keep checking websites to see whether the country is safe," Ssemujju Nganda added.

The law maker has also asked the ministry of internal affairs to put sanctions against individual’s actors tainting the image of the country.

Mbale municipality MP Jack Wamai Wamanga cautioned Government on how the whole world was watching events happening in Uganda and condemning them.

However the State minister for Housing, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi who spoke on behalf of government and assured the house that government is committed to promote media freedom.

Balyomunsi has asked the media institutions to use all remedies to resolve the matter including challenging the directives by UCC.

“I have seen one of the letters from UCC to NBS television and UCC is saying they have breached some of the broadcasting standards. One of the remedies available for such institutions could be challenging such directives." Baryomunsi noted

He also denied allegations that government had banned opposition leaders from appearing on broadcast media houses.

"The media has been awash with reports of unfair treatment of opposition leaders, Dr Kiiza Besigye and Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi, it is reported that these leaders have been denied opportunities to appear on talk shows in different media houses, with directives from UCC to suspend journalists who host such leaders, which is not true" He added