Government temporarily closes radio stations

Government temporarily closes radio stations

Four radio stations closed in Uganda

The Government of Republic of Uganda closed four independently-owned radio stations today and suspended their operating licenses for what it called “flouting rules by inciting people, mainly the Baganda tribe, against President Yoweri Museveni, his government and against other tribes”.

Friday, 11 September 2009, by Eastern Africa Journalists Association, EAJA

According to the Uganda Journalists Union (UJU), an affiliate of Eastern Africa Journalists Association’, the Uganda Broadcasting Council (UBC) first suspended the operating license for the pro-Buganda monarchy Central Broadcasting Service (CBS) on Thursday for “inciting Mengo Kingdom loyalists against the government and for airing sectarian messages aimed at bringing hatred against the Kampala authorities”. On Friday, Independent Radio Two, popularly known as “Akaboozi”, Ssuubi FM radio and the Catholic Church-owned Radio Sapiensa, were
switched off air for inciting people and promoting sectarianism. The broadcasts by the four had “degenerated into genocide in the making like what prevailed in neighbouring Rwanda”, according to the a statement issued by the UBC.

A Thursday riotous incident that went on through Friday led to vandalism, looting and indiscriminate killings around Mengo Kingdom area. The government was forced to reinforce the Anti-Riot Police with the deadly no-nonsense Military Police who fired live bullets into crowds to curb insecurity and bring the situation under control. At least ten people were confirmed dead while another 45 were seriously injured.

Announcing the closure of the four radio stations on Friday, UBC Chairman, Mr. Godfrey Mutabazi, said the suspension of operating licenses for the four radio stations was prompted by their continued contravention of operating rules and regulations. “The four radio stations had abandoned operating rules and were instead inciting the public into hatred for government and promoting sectarianism”, Mutabazi said.

The closure follows warnings from Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni that vernacular radio stations, led by the pro-Buganda monarchy CBS, were inciting locals against the government and promoting tribalism. On the same Friday morning Mr Museveni at an interview with the Nation Media Group warned that his government would not allow a genocide-in-the-making to be ignited by some people under the pretext of promoting monarchism. A few hours after Mr Museveni’s address, three radio stations, Akaboozi, Radio Ssuubi and Radio Sapiensa, had their operating licenses suspended- joining the rank with CBS which was closed on Thursday. Radio Ssuubi has had a run with the security apparatus in the past one month with its chief editor being interrogated by police several times.

Source: Human rights house

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