UJA demands for resignation of UCC’s Mutabazi

By Deo Wasswa

Uganda Journalists under their umbrella, Uganda journalists association (UJA) are demanding the executive director of Uganda communications commission, Engineer Godfrey Mutabazi to resign.

While commemorating the world press freedom day, journalists have expressed disappointment over UCC’s directive to 13 media to suspend producers, Editors and program directors over alleged breach of minimum broadcasting standards .

Journalist say this was unfair since the affected media houses since UCC did not give them a change to meet them formally and explain to them the offense they committed and how to avoid the mess in future.

In her remarks, Marcy Lugemwa the UJA vice president has noted that Mr. Mutabazi should withdraw his directive with immediate effect and failure to this, the journalists will soon match to the headquarters of Uganda communications commission in a peaceful protest.
They also are calling upon president Museveni to appoint a new executive director for UCC who has a media background and knows how media house operate and not an engineer as the current executive director.

In his remarks, delivered by Minister for general duties Mary Karoro Okuru the deputy speaker of parliament Jacob Oulanya has urged journalists to avoid reporting un-researched stories and stories that may incite rather than inform the public.
He further called upon the journalist to desist from stories that are inflammatory stories.
“This day also offers people an opportunity to discuss challenges facing the country as far as press freedom is concerned, deputy speaker added.

Speaking at the same celebrations The Uganda Human Rights Commission called for dialogue to resolve the impasse between the Media and the Uganda Communications Commission- UCC.
Dr Meddie Kaggwa, the chairperson of the Commission said this after journalists under the Uganda Journalists Association called for resignation of Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi, the Chief Executive of Uganda Communications Commission.

Speaking at the Commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day on Friday, Dr Kaggwa said the UCC should accept to dialogue with the affected media companies.
He asked government to improve legal regime for the practice of journalism.
“Today’s commemoration reminds us of our duty as a country to strive to entrench a just system that supports free and safe journalism. So it is our call today to all the relevant stake holders to improve the legal regime in Uganda by reviewing those archache laws that curtail media freedom whenever they apply. Once again we make an ardent call to the relevant authorities to ensure that legal framework is conducive for effective media practice”said UHRC Kaggwa
The day has been commemorated under the theme ‘’media for democracy, journalism and election in times of disinformation”.

Five journalists held for alleged illegal possession of classified drugs

By Robert Segawa

Police is looking for NBS journalist Solomon Sserwanja to help them in investigations over buying classified government drugs.

Addressing journalists at Central Police Station, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango said the three journalists were buying classified government drugs in Makindye division. He said security agencies later swung into action arresting them journalists and their driver.

According to Onyango, on arrest the journalists confessed to having more boxes of drugs stored at fellow journalist Solomon Sserwanja’s home in Mukono. “We went to his home for a search and found 14 boxes of Lumefantine, vaccines for hepatitis b and other drugs,”Onyango said. He added that on summoning Sserwanja last night he refused to turn up on time forcing police detectives to cordon off his home until today morning.

Onyango adds that police used warrant card in presence of local council 1 together with Sserwanja ‘s wife Vivian Nakalika.

He also adds that after carrying out search both local council one and his wife managed to sign on form before drive them to central police station. He further says that,although the journalists were doing an investigative story they never informed police to provide them security.

Onyango identified identified the suspects as Kassim Mohammed of BBC, Shafiq Kasame, Badebya Godfrey, Rashid Kawesa a driver and Vivian Nakalika.
He adds that the five ( 5 ) will appear in courts of law on charges of illegal possession of classified drugs.

Robert Ssempala the Director Human Rights Network for Journalist (HRNJ) condemned Uganda Police Force for searching a home of Solomon Sserwanja who was gathering information pertaining the top government officials in National Medical Store who are involved in selling off government drugs illegally.

Parliament overturns decision to accredit only 100 journalists

The Parliamentary Commission and Public Relations Department have rescinded an earlier decision to accredit only 100 journalists to cover the house citing the high number of applications received.

In January this year, parliament asked media house to submit names of journalists with degrees in mass communication or any related discipline for accreditation to cover the 10th parliament.

According to the communication, only 100 qualifying journalists would be accredited. Chris Obore, the Director Public Relations at parliament, says they decided to rescind the decision to accredit only 100 journalists after receiving more than 200 applications.

According to Obore, so far 170 journalists have been accredited. He however, says they are still receiving more applications from media organisations that didn’t respond to the call in time.

On whether parliament received applications from journalists with lower qualifications, Obore said they received less than 10 applications from journalists with diplomas but they were not considered.

According to the Information Office of parliament, 160 journalists were accredited to cover the Ninth Parliament.