Reopened Media Houses: MPs Condemn Govt Conditions

Members of Parliament under their umbrella organisation Friends of the Media say they are saddened by the conditions set by government to reopen the media houses.
 

MP Theodore Sekikubo.
MP Theodore Sekikubo.

Government on Thursday reopened The Monitor and Pepper Publications ending 10 days of closure.

Singling out the Daily Monitor, Theodore Ssekikubo, the MP Lwemiyaga County, describes the government conditions for re-opening as draconian saying if the Daily Monitor follows them, it would be rendered a toothless paper.

Some of the condition spelt out by the outgoing Minister for Internal Affairs Hilary Onek today was that the Nation Media Group managers acknowledged that there had been violations of their editorial policy by their Reporters and Editors in Uganda.

The Managers also undertook to tighten their internal editorial and gate keeping processes, to ensure that stories that impact especially on national security are subjected to the most rigorous scrutiny and verification process before they run.

Also, the managers agreed that they would steer clear of stories that are sensitive and have potential to cause ethnic hatred.

It was in view of these and other conditions that Onek announced the suspension of the Police siege at the Monitor and Red Pepper premises so that they resume their normal business as the search for the General Sejusa letter continues.

Ssekikubo says if Daily Monitor follows these conditions it will be a toothless paper that allows government to decide its editorial policy and what it covers.

The Inspector General of Police General Kale Kayihura, while talking about the letter that led to the closure of the media houses, said they should not have received it. The said letter was written by the coordinator of intelligence services General David Sejusa alleging that the is a plan by President Museveni to eliminate internal opponents as he prepares his son, Brigadier Muhoozi Kainerugaba, for the presidency.

General Kaihura caused laughter when he said the Daily Monitor journalists should have sent back the letter or verified its authenticity before publishing it. According to the IGP the Daily Monitor wrote the story as though it was a fact and even twisted facts regarding Brigadier Muhoozi and allegations of Museveni’s alleged plan.

Buyaga West MP Barnabas Tinkasimire asks government and police to first buy shares before they forcefully enter the Monitor Publications boardroom. He was however hopeful that the Daily Monitor shall continue with the principle of bringing to the forefront balanced news and not be intimidated by the police.

Wokulira Ssebagala, the coordinator Uganda Human Rights Network for Journalists, says government’s communication is half justice likening it to a grounded car which cannot move. He insists they must study further the conditions under which the media houses were raided and occupied for the last 10 days.

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