The minister of state for housing in the ministry of lands, housing and urban development Dr.Chris Baryomunsi has advised Journalists affected by a directive by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to various media houses ordering them to suspend senior journalists and producers over alleged abuse of minimum broadcast guidelines, to go to court.
Addressing Parliament on Thursday about UCC’s directive, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, the minister of state in charge of urban development said UCC didn’t error in issuing the directive.
“They are free to go to court and challenge this directive. We should allow institutions such as UCC to do their work,” Baryomunsi told Parliament.
On Thursday, Parliamentarians including Kira Municipality MP Semujju Ibrahim Nganda a journalist by profession, criticized the move by UCC to recommend suspension of journalists, saying it is a threat to media freedom.And he was supported by other Legislators condemned the call to suspend journalists and producers by the UCC saying it greatly impacts on media freedom and that of expression as it might affect Uganda’s rankings in the world towards respecting for human rights and press freedom.
Raising the issue as a matter of National Importance, Ssemujju implored the government to rescind its directive saying it puts Uganda in a bad light as a country that doesn’t respect media freedom.
He said Uganda’s rankings on media freedom had dropped as a result of arrest and torture of journalists.
“A country that is battering journalists can only attract fortune hunters, not tourists. The government should come here and address what steps it has taken to improve our media freedom rankings and also prevail over its employees over these directives,” Ssemujju said.
Earlier in the week, UCC’s Executive Director Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi issued letters to different media houses such as NBS TV and NTV among others including print media directing them to suspended journalists for what it described as an abuse of standard broadcast guidelines during the recent arrest of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.
Minister Baryomunsi, however, supported UCC for the directive saying Parliament should hail the institution for doing what it is supposed to do.