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Media Associations Call on Gov't to Respect Press Freedom

NUMEC urged UCC to immediately rescind a directive ordering a section of radio and Television stations to suspend staff for allegedly breaching the Minimum Broadcasting Standards.
03 May 2019 19:24
The Bishop of Fort Portal Catholic Diocese Bishop, Robert Muhiirwa Akiiki, urged government to stop gagging the media

Audio 4

Media associations in different parts of the country have celebrated the World Press Freedom Day with a call to the government to respect press freedom.

In Northern Uganda, the Northern Media Club-NUMEC said that this year`s World Press Freedom Day is being celebrated against the backdrop of increased threats to free speech in Uganda.

Moses Odokonyero the NUMEC administrator noted with concern about UCC`s move to gag the media as perpetrated by the switching off of radio stations hosting opposition leaders.

‘’As Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC), we are concerned that the questionable directive by UCC is likely to be interpreted by overzealous state actors to find ground that in reality doesn`t legally exist in law to gag the media.’’ The release read in part. 

NUMEC urged UCC to immediately rescind a directive ordering a section of radio and Television stations to suspend staff for allegedly breaching the Minimum Broadcasting Standards.

‘’The directives if unchallenged, poses serious dangers to media freedoms, particularly for journalists and media organizations outside of Kampala who remain vulnerable to ill-informed and arbitrary directives from state actors.’’ The statement adds.

In Arua, the West Nile Press Association-WENPA celebrated the day under the theme “Protect your environment”.

According to Clement Aluma, the Chairperson WENPA, they decided to dedicate the day to tree planting due to the adverse effects of climate change in the region.

“The association encourages each of its members to at least plant five trees at home to mitigate the effects of climate change as an example to those they preach to,” Aluma said.

In the Tooro region, the Bishop of Ruwenzori Diocese, Reuben Kisembo Amooti, and the Bishop of Fort Portal Catholic Diocese, Robert Muhiirwa Akiiki, condemned the media gag by UCC.    

 

Bishop Kisembo, who was the Chief Guest at the celebrations, noted that every time journalists are threatened and their rights violated, it is the society that suffers because they are denied information.

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Bishop Muhirwa noted that freedom of speech and expression are fundamental rights that everyone, including journalists, should be allowed to enjoy without any threats or interference.

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The Fort Portal Municipality Mayor, Rev Will Kintu Muhanga, wondered why the government is now suffocating the media who are partners in bringing about the much-needed prosperity in the country.     

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In Greater Luweero region journalists under their umbrella body Greater Luweero Journalists’ Association [GLJA] which covers Luweero, Nakaseke and Nakasongola districts commemorated the World Press Freedom Day by donating medical supplies to expectant mothers at Biddabugya Health Centre III in Nakaseke.

The journalists from different media organizations mobilized resources in conjunction with Rose Namayanja foundation and Save for Health Uganda and purchased the medical supplies.

The supplies donated include; 64 Mama Kits, 120 Mosquito Nets, Blankets, Buckets, Soap, Bed sheets among others.

Brian Luwaga, the Chairperson of Greater Luweero Journalists’ Association [GLJA] asked the government to free the media saying that it will help them rally stakeholders to boost health services;

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Nakaseke district chairman Ignatius Koomu asked journalists to continue exposing the wrongs committed by public officials. According to Koomu, the current attack on the Media in Uganda should not discourage members of the Fourth Estate from performing their watchdog role over the three other organs of government because action can only be taken to improve livelihoods after the media has exposed any rot.