Daily Monitor Editorial | Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) Should not be Prosecutor and Judge

Posted May 2, 2019 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Featured ~ 2,387 views


By Editor – On Monday, the executive director of the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), Mr Godfrey Mutabazai, wrote to the managing director of the Nile Broadcasting Services (NBS) Television, accusing the station of what he termed as “repeated breach of minimum broadcasting standards”.

He argued that the nature of the content aired on NBS during live programmes, breaking news, and main news bulletins does not comply with minimum broadcasting standards and “misrepresents information, views, facts and events in a manner likely to mislead or cause alarm to the public” and was likely to “create public insecurity or violence.”

Mr Mutabazi announced that UCC has “commenced full investigations to determine whether or not the manner in which NBS Television presents its live broadcasts and news stories is in accordance with the expected standards and codes and ethics of journalism,” but went on to direct the station to suspend the producer, heads of news and head of programmes pending conclusion of the investigations.

We are advocates of good journalism and we will always be the first to support any person or institution that works to promote professionalism and ethical conduct, but we have questions about the procedure that UCC has chosen to follow.

One of the functions of UCC is to “receive, investigate and arbitrate complaints relating to communications services, and take necessary action”. Given that only a few weeks ago, Mr Mutabazi, while disassociating himself from the raids that resulted in the switching off radio stations in Kabale, Jinja and Mubende, which were hosting former presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye said UCC does not act on “rumours,” we shall assume that this letter was precipitated by a complaint, but whoever the complainants are, UCC should not choose to work as the accuser, the prosecutor and the judge. That defeats justice.

You cannot claim to be investigating an institution for compliance when you have already judged it to be in breach of the standards for which you claim it has been in breach of. What sort of ruling would a judge who makes insinuations about the level of innocence or guilt of an accused person be expected to come out with?

If the manner is subject of an investigation, which if conducted objective may after all find that the station was not in breach of the minimum broadcast standards, why is UCC insisting that the station suspends the producer, head of news and head of programmes?

Are we not innocent until we are found guilty? We should not go about implementing the law in a manner that defeats the principle of natural justice.

Source — Monitor Editorial

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Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.


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