Government has announced the re-opening of the Monitor Publications, 10 days after it was raided and closed by the police. Dembe FM and KFM, the sister radio stations also closed on the same day, May 20, are also allowed to resume normal operations.
Outgoing Internal Affairs Minister Hilary Onek has told journalists at a press briefing in Kampala that the newspaper has agreed to a number of conditions.
According to the minister, the Nation Media Group executivesacknowledged that there had been violations of their editorial policy by their reporters and editors in Uganda. They availed government with a copy of their Editorial Policy and undertook to ensure that both the letter and the spirit of the policy are respected.
The media house, according to Onek also highly regretted the story that led to the closure and that they committed themselves to only publish or air stories which are properly sourced, verified and factual.
The media house also undertook to be objective, fair, balanced, and sensitive and to steer clear of stories that can generate tensions, ethnic hatred, cause insecurity or disturb law and order.
They 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.
The officials agreed to seek regular interface with the Government of Uganda to ensure that the undertakings they have made will be respected and implemented, among other conditions.
The Red Pepper Publications, another daily tabloid that was closed together with the Monitor Publications on May 20, however, remains closed. Minister Onek said he is set to hold a separate meeting with officials from the publication later today.
This is bringing to the end, at least publically, the controversial raid by the police on the pretext of searching for a letter written by General David Sejusa, the Coordinator of Intelligence Services. Sejusa, commonly known as Tinyefuza, alleged a plan by President Yoweri Museveni political and military officers opposed to his maneuvers to fast-track his son, Brigadier Muhoozi Kainerugaba, to the presidency.
The letter, written on April 29, was first published by Daily Monitor on May 7.
The re-opening comes just four days after top Nation Media officials met President Museveni in Addis Ababa, where he was attending the African Union summit. Yesterday, a source in government told URN that two Nation Media executives, Group Chairman Wilfred Kiboro and Executive Director Linus Gitahi, were meeting a team from government. The government team was reportedly by Minister Onek and General Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of Police.
Indeed, Onekacknowledged in his statement to the media that he chaired the meeting at the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It was attended by among others Rose Namayanja Nsereko, the new Minister for Information and National Guidance, General Kayihura, Christopher Gashirabake, the Acting Solicitor General and Ofwono Opondo, the In-coming Executive Director of the Government Media Centre. The Nation Media Group was represented by Dr. Simon Kagugube, the Chairman Monitor Publications Ltd and Linus Gitahi.
It is in that meeting that the Monitor team agreed to the conditions, according to Onek. The Monitor Publications officials are yet to comment on the conditions.