Parliamentary Journalists under there association the Uganda Parliamentary Press Association UPPA, have joined other media bodies and organizations to condemn the UCC’s directives on the suspension of some journalists and media practitioners which directives are threatening the press freedom and right to freedom of expression as enshrined in the constitution and international covenants where Uganda is a party.
These directives UCC’s Executive director Godfrey Mutabzi are direct attacks to press freedom clearly classifies him an enemy number one of the media due to his draconian way of handling media and press matters.
Since tuesday Godfrey Mutabazi has directed the suspension of producers, heads of news, and programmes in various media houses which include NBS TV, BBS TV, NTV, Bukedde TV, CBS FM, Kingdom TV, Salt TV, Sapientia TV, Simba FM, Capital FM, Beat FM, and Pearl FM.
Mutabaazi is accusing the media houses of having aired news about Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi on April 29, 2019 2019 in a manner that was meant to mislead or create alarm to the public.
Moses Mulondo said Godfrey Mutabazi is an aeronautical engineer, who has no professional capacity to regulate the media industry because he is an alien to that profession and that is why he is issuing draconian directives. “He doesn’t understand the watchdog role of the media. He has no clue on the fact that journalists are the eyes and ears of the public”.
Moses Mulondo said, “It is therefore a big mistake on the side of the appointing authority to entrust Mutabaazi with that responsibility” and asks president Museveni to consider relieving Mutabazi of his in the duecourse.
If the president doesn’t sack Mutabazi, it will mean he enjoys and sanctions Mutabazi’s acts of madness.
Without mincing words, we would like to candidly say that Mutabazi’s ridiculous threats and directives to the media houses are acts of madness.
We call upon professional associations, Parliament, the civil society groups, development partners, religious leaders, and all Ugandans to condemn the madness of Mutabaazi. Mutabaazi has become a devil’s advocate. Martin Luther said it takes good people to keep quiet to evil to triumph in society. We call upon judicious NRM MPs and other leaders to condemn such wicked acts which are creating an ugly image for the NRM government.
“We also condemn recent incidents where Dr. Kizza Besigye and other FDC leaders have been denied the opportunity to speak to Ugandans on various radio stations outside Kampala. There even scenarios when the radio programs were stopped in the middle of Dr. Besigye speaking. This came with threats from government authorities”. Moses Mulondo said.
Mulondo says the independence of journalism is the hallmark of media freedom and Freedom of expression is important for democracy, because it enables the public to participate in making decisions based on the free flow of information and ideas. Without it, people would be unable to make informed decisions.
Free speech and a free press together allow people to obtain information from a wide range of sources that are not dictated or restricted by the government, so that they can make decisions, develop opinions, and communicate their views to the government through debates, voting, assembling, protesting and sharing ideas.
In article 29 1 (a), the constitution guarantees freedom of speech and expression which shall include freedom of the press and other media.