Talk show hosts in Jinja are shunning opposition politicians because of intimidation from Apollo Bwebale, the Resident District Commission and District Internal Security Officer, David Tibulya Akooye.
The talk show hosts accuse Bwebale and Akooye of pressurizing them not to host opposition politicians. As a result most radio stations in Jinja have resorted to self censorship to steer away from trouble.
Last week, Kiiza Besigye, FDC president appeared at Apex FM under tight security. Joseph Gwina, who hosted Besigye, says that they decided to limit access to their studio because Bwebale and the DISO had warned them against hosting Besigye on their station.
Gwina says that Bwebale instead advised them to host another guest but the statement management rejected the proposal because of fearing to lose its audience. Frank Bwire, Apex FM programs manager says that they decided to host Besigye because their listeners want to hear from both government and opposition politicians.
He says that the station tried to keep a certain level of professionalism. Bwire advises the RDC and DISO to put their directives in writing instead of making calling the radio hosts.
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On October 8th /2010, Bwebale circulated a letter to all radio stations requiring all presenters to furnish their details with the office of the RDC for security reason.
The letter has had a chilling effect on the presenters who now fear to report critically on government programs.
Robert Nsubuga, News Editor Bamboo FM says as a result of the letter his director ordered him to stop certain programs and avoid some news items.
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Martin Oscar Kintu, a programs manager at Basoga Bainho FM says that self censorship has become common amongst presenters in Jinja. He urges government to organize trainings for media practioners to improve their professionalism on air.
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Kintu believes that training journalists will improve on the way journalists report the 2011 general elections.
Apollo Bwebale, Jinja Resident Commissioner says that his office is planning to organize a briefing for journalists within two weeks.