Malac, who was delivering a keynote address at a World Press Freedom Day national conference at Golf Course Hotel said Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) recent directives to radios and TVs is indicative that media is under assault for doing its job.
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The U.S ambassador to Uganda, Deborah Malac has said government’s
attackon the media is a step in a wrong direction.
Malac, who was on Friday delivering a keynote address at a World Press Freedom
Day national conference at Golf Course Hotel, said Uganda Communication
Commission (UCC)'s recent directives to radios and TVs is indicative that media
is under assault for doing its job.
On Wednesday, UCC ordered six televisions and seven radio stations
to suspend its staff over alleged breach of minimum broadcasting
standards. The affected media houses are; NTV, NBS Tv, BBS Tv, Bukedde
Tv, Salt Tv, Akaboozi Fm, Beat Fm, Bukedde Tv, Capital Fm, CBS Fm, Kingdom Tv,
Pearl Fm, Sapientia Fm and Simba Fm.
Malac wondered why UCC hastily issued directives without
defining sections of broadcasting standards that were allegedly breached by the media
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She pointed out other “quite concerning” trends curtailing media freedom
in Uganda such as closure of radio stations, hiking levies paid by radios and
TVs, and proposal of new regulations. This repression of media, Malac said has
a long-lasting effect on media environment in Uganda.
Malac also referred to 2019 World Press Freedom Index where Uganda
dropped 8 places--from 117 placing of 2018 to 125--out of 180 states ranked.
Such performance and repression, she says send a wrong message to
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Malac reaffirmed US mission support to promotion of press freedom in
Uganda and strengthening organisation of journalists.
“We, of course, must use our collective influence to urge the
government to improve its record.
Today, as we have done in the past, the United State strongly
urges the Uganda government to take action to protect and defend press freedom
and to hold individuals who violate this freedom accountable,” Malac said.
Meanwhile, the European Union has expressed concern over the
restriction of freedom of expression of the media and assembly in Uganda.
In their joint release issued on Fruday, the European Union note that they are deeply concerned
by a series of recent incidents restricting the freedom of expression and
assembly in Uganda, in particular, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC)’s
decision to suspend staff of 13 media houses over allegations of breaching
minimum broadcasting standards.
“We are also concerned about the excessive use of force by the Uganda police
and security forces against peaceful protestors and opposition.” The statement
“We urge the Government to ensure the implementation of all the relevant laws
and regulations in a way that allows all Ugandans irrespective of their
political affiliations, to exercise fully and without fear, their basic
democratic rights enshrined in the constitution,” the statement says.
EU also underlines the importance of upholding judicial processes and stressed
the importance of full respect for the rule of law and the right to a fair
trial as set down in the constitution.