The Northern Media Club-NUMEC has said this year`s World Press Freedom Day-WPFD is being celebrated against the backdrop of increased threats to free speech in Uganda.
In his 3rd May press release, Moses Odokonyero the NUMEC administrator pointed that media regulator Uganda Communications Commission-UCC has issued an ill-informed directiv ordering several media houses to suspend their news managers, program managers and other editorial staff.
He suspects that the directive is linked to the coverage media houses gave to protests following the arrests and charging of opposition politician and musician, Robert Kyagulanyi popularly known as Bobi Wine.
Odokonyero noted that NUMEC is concerned about UCC`s move to gag the media as perpetrated by the switching off of media houses in Lira, Kasese and Kabale for simply hosting opposition leader, Dr Kizza Besigye.
‘’As Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC), we are concerned that the questionable directive by UCC is likely to be interpreted by overzealous state actors to find ground that in reality doesn`t legally exist in law to gag the media.’’ The release read in part.
NUMEC said it joins its colleagues in Kampala and beyond to condemn UCC and urge the regulator to immediately rescind its unfortunate directive.
‘’The directives if unchallenged, poses serious dangers to media freedoms, particularly for journalists and media organizations outside of Kampala who remain vulnerable to ill-informed and arbitrary directives from state actors.’’ The statement adds.
Odokonyero noted that NUMEC will use the WPFD to call for constructive engagement between the media, the regulator and not gagging orders urging that a free press is critical for democracy.
This year`s World Press Freedom Day is being celebrated in Adisababa in Ethiopia under the theme “Media for Democracy: Journalism in Times of Disinformation“.
By Adwarping News.