Uganda's Media hit with Arrests, Bans and Raids in 2008

1917 Views Fort Portal, Uganda
According to the 2008 World Press Freedom Index from Reporters Without Borders, Uganda ranks 107th in a list of 173 countries. According to the Index, Uganda dropped two points on the list because of violations of freedom of expression and speech over a 12 month period. William Gonza, one of four journalists who in early 2008 was detained by the police in Fort Portal, says his experience is a confirmation about the curtailing of media freedom, particularly outside Kampala. Gonza, Steven Rwagweri, Joram Bintamanya, Gerald Kankya and Prosper Businge were arrested on two separate occasions for threatening violence, inciting violence and defamation. The journalists were hosts of a popular talk show on Life FM, a Fort Portal-based radio, which was particularly critical of the Queen Mother of Tooro Best Kemigisha and senior officials in the NRM and the Tooro Kingdom administration. Police ordered the talk show off the air and similar programs were removed from the lineup of the more Tooro-kingdom friendly station, Voice of Tooro. However after the intervention of the High Court, the Life FM program, Twerwaneho, was reinstated. William Gonza says the backlash against him and his colleagues was unwarranted. He argues that they were only representing the voice of the people, who are unhappy at the inaction of the authorities against corruption and impunity. Gonza says that unless attention is given to the suffocating of the media outside Kampala, free speech and free expression through the media will suffer. //Cue in: iReally, the experience #i Cue out: i# you are silenced.i// Gonza's participation on any radio program was banned by the Broadcasting Council. He plans to appeal the decision. In 2008 several journalists around the country had a scrape with the law. The Independent Magazine was invaded by the police and its editorial management were arrested for being in possession of seditious material and publishing inflammatory material. A number of radio hosts and journalists from Central Broadcasting Station, Mama FM and the Weekly Observer were also summoned by the CID to answer for statements made regarding the controversial Land Amendment Bill.


About the author

Emmanuel Kajubu
Emmanuel Kajubu is proud to have been the first Ugandan journalist to write in depth pieces about the Tooro Kingdom institution. His knowledge of the inner workings of the Tooro Kingdom is what made him privy to the splits in the royal family. These splits almost challenged Tooro Omukama Oyo Nyimba Iguru's reign.

Culture, agriculture and the environment are just two areas of many of interest to Kajubu. As long as he has held a pen, Kajubu has also written about public policy, health and crime.

Kajubu is keen on impacting his society not just as a writer but also a trainer and mentor. Bundibugyo and Ntoroko districts fall under his docket. Kajubu has been a URN staff member since 2008.