The Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) has been sued for issuing a warning that media houses that will not adhere to certain minimum broadcasting standards while reporting on the events surrounding exiled military General, David Sejusa, will be disciplined.
According to the Daily Monitor – the newspaper that’s been shut down by government for a week now – the suit was filed Tuesday before the High Court in Kampala by a “concerned lawyer”, Mr Brian Ogago Abangi.
Also sued is the Executive Director of UCC, Mr Godfrey Mutabazi.
“The 1st respondent (UCC) on the 14th day of May 2013, unlawfully decided to discipline errant media houses that would not adhere to the minimum broadcasting standards in respect to coverage of the events on Gen. David Sejusa,” Mr Abangi states in his affidavit.
“The 1st respondent (UCC) on the 17th day of May 2013 unlawfully made a decision and set the local content quotas to which all broadcasters are to comply effective January 1st 2014.”
According to the petitioner, the resolution to warn media houses that would not adhere to the broadcasting standards while reporting about events surrounding Gen Sejusa, were passed without being backed by the UCC board, which action, he says is illegal.
This suit comes barely a week after the police closed four media houses – the Daily Monitor, KFM and Dembe FM and Red Pepper, following a story the Daily Monitor published in which Gen. David Sejusa wrote to the Director General of Internal Security Organisation, asking him to investigate claims that there is a plot to assassinate top government officials opposed to a certain perceived succession plan.
The petitioner said Mr Mutabazi’s stay in office, since his appointment as UCC Executive Director in 2010, without a substantive board, is illegal. The petitioner is seeking court orders to issue an injunction stopping Mr Mutabazi from occupying that office.
He further claims that Mr Mutabazi’s decision to run single handedly all the institutions of UCC is unlawful as he is usurping powers of the board, which includes the powers to make decisions.
Court is yet to summon UCC and Mr Mutabazi to file in their defence before a hearing date can be fixed.