Court rules out UCC’s directive on suspending 39 Journalists

High Court Judge Justice Lydia Mugambe.THE HOMELAND MEDIA GROUP/FILE/PHOTO

High Court judge Lydia Mugambe Ssali has Thursday issued an injunction against the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) directive suspending 39 journalists from 13 media houses over live broadcasts of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine arrest and protests.

UCC earlier this month called for 13 radio and TV stations to suspend their news editors, producers and heads of programming over their coverage of Bobi Wine claiming it endangered national security.

Two activists petitioned the court on behalf of the Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) asking court to restrain the regulator for playing judge, jury and executioner.

In her ruling, Justice Mugambe wondered why a case of possible incitement of violence was reported to UCC instead of police.

“I am mindful of UCC regulatory mandate and national security at large, but this does not mean that the rights of citizens have to be violated. Its threats have to be demonstrated. The application is allowed and injunction ordered against the respondent (the UCC).”

She added: “I have to consider that the meeting of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) on May 9, 2019 in which the two agreed that the 39 journalists step aside instead of being suspended is merely an attempt to defeat justice on matters before court. I therefore find that there is a status quo to be maintained.”

UCC lawyer Abdu Salaam Waisswa promised to analyse the ruling and see the way forward.


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