Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) boss Mr Godfrey Mutabazi has briefed the British government on the suspension of news managers accused of publishing content regarded as meant to incite violence, saying no one is expected to lose a job.
‘The affected media managers will step aside for the duration of the investigation to avoid possible bias and or interference and not necessarily leave employment,” said Mutabazi.
Mutabazi made the remarks on Thursday after receiving a courtesy visit from the Deputy British High Commissioner to Uganda, Ms Sarah Mann, together with the High Commission Press Secretary Nicholas Rae at his office in Bugolobi, Kampala.
The discussion highlighted the recent directive of the Commission to suspend the media managers of some media houses.
The delegation raised concerns on the timing of the directive, especially as the country is getting ready for elections in two years.
Mr Mutabazi said the timing might have been unfortunate.
“However, the Commission exercises its functions independently of any person or body and the concern that necessitated regulatory intervention is the deteriorating nature of broadcasting content carried by the affected media houses,” he observed.
Mutabazi said the Commission was “mindful of the potential disruption regulatory interventions can have on a media house. That is why, rather than a temporary suspension of entire programmes which is provided for under the Uganda Communications Act, a more subtle intervention was sought to focus on the allegedly questionable content and persons in charge of that content to minimise on the possible inconvenience but also allow for the investigation process to proceed uninterrupted.”
Ms Mann expressed pleasure that there was an ongoing investigation into the conduct of the said journalists and looks forward to the outcome.
She also noted the Commission’s concern on the non-professional behaviour of some the media practitioners in Uganda that threatens to undermine public security interest and the public confidence in the law and its enforcement.
Mr Mutabazi said the relationship with the embassy needs improvement to allow for more engagement and exchanges that are mutually beneficial.
The meeting also noted that training and capacity building of media personalities on the legal and regulatory matter should be an ongoing exercise that facilitates engagements of mutual benefit.
Mutabazi also briefed the High Commission delegation on various developments taking place in the ICT sector.