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Court Issues Injunction Against UCC Directives

Justice Lydia Mugambe of High Court Civil Division on Thursday says that the UCC's directive was illegal since it contravened with the journalists rights of freedom of speech, expression, publication among others enshrined in the Constitution of Uganda.
23 May 2019 18:07
High Court in Kampala has issued a temporary injunction restraining UCC and its agents from enforcing its directive issued on April 30, 2019, to 13 media organizations to suspend staff. 

The Media houses are Akaboozi FM, BBS TV, Beat FM, Kingdom TV, NBS TV, NTV, Pearl FM, Salt TV, Sapientia FM and Simba FM.

Justice Lydia Mugambe of High Court Civil Division on Thursday says that the UCC's directive was illegal since it contravened with the journalists rights of freedom of speech, expression, publication among others enshrined in the Constitution of Uganda. 

Justice Mugambe argued that after UCC issuing its directive on April, 30th, 2019, it held a meeting with National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) on May, 7th, to discuss with them what the directive was all about yet the court proceedings had commenced on May, 2nd.

Mugambe has now issued an interim order pending the disposal of the main application for judicial review filed by Uganda Journalists Association and two lawyers Henry Byansi and Ronald Bwire against UCC.

UCC was dragged to court in two separate suits filed by UJA and Lawyers Henry Byansi and Ronald Bwire who argued that its directive to media houses to immediately suspend their producer, head of news and head of programmes pending conclusion of the investigations was an infringement on the constitutional rights of the journalists. 

The Commission had in its directive of April 30th, 2019 demanded that within three days from the date when it was issued, the media houses should submit to them the names, particulars and qualifications of the subject office holders.

It also demanded that within three days the media houses should submit the recordings of all live programs and news bulletins aired on the April, 29th, 2019. 

However, the journalists through their umbrella Association, UJA demanded an interim order stopping UCC from implementing the directive.

But UCC through its lawyer Abdul Salaam Waiswa objected arguing that by granting the said order, its powers to regulate the media houses will have been reduced.

Waiswa has now told URN that as of now they will go with what court has determined until the main case is determined. 

The journalists who were at court through their secretary for Human Rights and Safety, Arnold Mukose have welcomed the ruling saying it has been long overdue.

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