UJA petitioned the Civil Division of the High Court seeking a temporary injunction in the matter they are challenging UCC's directive to 13 media houses to suspend staff for allegedly breaching minimum broadcasting standards.
The Uganda Communications Commission-UCC has asked court to
dismiss the consolidated applications filed against them by Uganda Journalists
UJA and the lawyers petitioned the Civil Division of the High
Court seeking a temporary injunction in the matter they are challenging UCC's
directive to 13 media houses to suspend staff for allegedly breaching minimum
The media houses are Akaboozi FM, BBS TV, Beat FM, Bukedde TV,
Capital FM, CBS FM, Kingdom TV, NBSTV, NTV, and Pearl FM, Salt TV, Sapientia FM
and Simba FM.
The applicants through their lawyers of Mugisha and Company Advocates
have since said that the directive is inconsistent and that should court fail
to grant an order stopping its implementation, journalists are likely to suffer
from permanent harm and other damages.
However, the lawyers of UCC led by Joseph Matsiko from Kampala
Associated Advocates have asked court presided by Justice Lydia Mugambe to
dismiss the case arguing that it has no merit.
Matsiko said that the matter before court does not require the
Judge to exercise her discretion so as to grant a temporary order. He noted
that the circumstances of the case are that there is a 30-day investigation
into possible breach of minimum broadcasting standards.
Matsiko said that the affidavit of Meddie Ssebagala Kagwa the head
of Multi-Media and Content at UCC indicates that what is going on at the moment
is just an investigation.
He also submitted Kagwa’s affidavit opposing the application shows
that there is continuous dialogue between the broadcasters and the respondents
meaning that it would be unwise for court to grant the reliefs sought by the
UCC’s head of Legal Services Abdul Salaam Waiswa told court that
the application was prematurely brought. He noted that the UCC Practice and
Regulations procedures state that where there is an investigation started by
the Commission, any person affected is supposed to write back to them other
than going to Court.
Waiswa noted that the decision was taken for the good of the
country and when the court issues an interim injunction, the powers of UCC to
regulate the media houses will be reduced.
The case has been adjourned to May 23rd, 2019 for ruling.
Meanwhile, Justice Mugambe has advised lawyer Peter Arinaitwe
who was representing UJA on behalf of Eron Kiiza to stop discussing the
merits of the case since it is before court.
//Cue in: “The lawyer for UCC
Cue out: …this particular matter”.//