THE Broadcasting Council has lifted the suspension of the Catholic Churchâ€™s Radio Sapientia. Sapientia was one of the five radio stations that were closed last week amid riots that rocked Kampala city after the Police stopped Kabaka Ronald Mutebiâ€™s t
THE Broadcasting Council has lifted the suspension of the Catholic Churchâ€™s Radio Sapientia. Sapientia was one of the five radio stations that were closed last week amid riots that rocked Kampala city after the Police stopped Kabaka Ronald Mutebiâ€™s tour of Kayunga.
Others were two of the CBS, Suubi and Radio Two (Akaboozi ku Bbiri) The Broadcasting Council argued that the stations were inciting violence.
â€œRadio Sapientia has since apologised for the misconduct of its staff and has made an undertaking to comply with the Electronic Media Act. Management has acknowledged that due to the lack of professionalism exhibited by the presenters and producers of the programmes in question, they are to be suspended pending conclusion of investigations,â€ a statement issued by the councilâ€™s chairperson, Godfrey Mutabazi, said.
The suspended journalists are Aloysius Matovu and Irene Kiseka, the presenters of the Morning Show and Ben Mutebi who presents the Amayengo Programme.
Meanwhile, human rights bodies and media organisations have criticised the Governmentâ€™s continued restrictions on the freedom of expression, the media and individual journalists.
The Human Rights Watch, The International Press Institute and the East and Horn of Africa Human Rights Defenders Project (EHAHRDP), in different statements, demanded that the attack on journalist be stopped.
They also said the Broadcasting Council immediately revokes the suspension of the radio stations and the public talk shows (bimeeza).
â€œThose found responsible for violations against journalists should also be held accountable,â€ the statement read.
They said the council arbitrarily shut down the stations without providing adequate explanation or an opportunity to challenge the decisions.
â€œThe council should stop muzzling independent reporting,â€ said Georgette Gagnon, the director of the Human Rights Watch Africa.
â€œIt needs to prove that a station was directly inciting violence before it can shut it down,â€ she added. The rights bodies called for a fair and independent trial for Radio One journalist Robert Kalundi Serumaga.
The International Press Institute said an impartial and independent investigation of cases of excessive use of force, assault, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention should be carried out.
â€œThe institute notes that members of the media faced serious obstacles while commenting and reporting on the unfolding events,â€ Dadge said.
He warned that the current clamp down on the media could erode past gains made on media freedom. â€œWhile news media must live up to the codes of practice and self-regulatory bodies, it is unacceptable for the Government to use suspensions and the withdrawal of radio licences as tools to hinder the flow of information,â€ Dadge said.
EHAHRDP executive director Hassan Shire Sheikh said the Government and the media industry had a range of measures at their disposal to prevent excessive and potentially dangerous reporting and radio discussions.
Radio Sapienta re-opened, human rights activists protest radio closures