THE Ugandan Government has flexed its muscles, shutting down four radio stations and suspending two FM radio presenters, a television talk show host and arresting one radio journalist in reaction to riots that hit Kampala streets last week, writes Dennis Itumbi for journalism.co.za.


The Uganda Broadcasting Council in two separate statements, signed by its chairman Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi, confirmed the measures. The Council accuses the journalists of failing to observe minimum broadcasting standards, although at least three of the journalists contacted by phone deny this.

Peter Kibazo, the host of the popular Kibazo on Friday, a WBS TV Program leads the list of suspensions that also has the two hosts of the Binsangawano show on Simba FM, while Kalundi Serumaga the host of Radio One Show Spectrum, who was initially under investigation for allegedly inciting violence has been arrested and is facing sedition charges.

Shortly before the suspensions, the council suspended Central Broadcasting Services (CBS), a radio associated with the Buganda Kingdom.
 
"In light of the current unrest, the Broadcasting Council has suspended the operations of the Central Broadcasting Services Ltd due to its consistent breach of the Electronic Media Act and particularly of section 8 of the Electronic Media Act which provides for the Minimum Broadcasting Standards," read the statement.
 
Adding, "More particularly, the Broadcasting Council took exception to the role that CBS has been playing in mobilizing and inciting the public to riot around H.H Kabaka’s planned visit to Kayunga District. This has resulted into the escalation of violence leading to loss of life and property and bringing business to a stand still in the city and surrounding areas."
 
CBS was accused of breaching the Electronic act during their programmes namely, Mambo Bado, Crossfire, Twejjukanye and Kkiriza oba Gaana.
 
Three other stations Suubi FM, Radio Sapientia and Radio Two Akabooza were also pulled off air.