Special Reports

Ruhindi tells gagged media to go to court



Attorney General Fred Ruhindi has advised media houses in the country to go to court if they feel their rights are being violated by the ban on opposition coverage.

He was speaking at the same press conference where Information minister Jim Muhwezi announced a ban on live coverage of defiance campaign barely two days after the world marked world press freedom day.

“Our intention is not to gag the media,” Ruhindi said clarifying that the problem was the defiance campaign.

“We need to look at the bigger picture. If media wants to cover Defiance or feel they are being gagged they can go to court.”

He said FDC can also apply for a review of the order taking a leaf from government that went to court to ban their activities.

He said government went to court for it to interpret if the defiance campaign is provided for in the constitution.

Deputy Attorney General Mwesigwa Rukutana said Uganda is a sovereign country; it is not governed by international treaties such as those that call for freedom of expression.

According to Rukatana, freedoms have limitations, even in the constitution.

Broadcasters are expected to meet and forge away forward following the ban.

Police chief Kale Kayihura said the safest way for the media houses in Uganda is not to broadcast the FDC demos at all.

Earlier, Kayihura had issued a warning to the media houses saying that risked being charged with contempt of court following a widely challenged interim order issued by deputy chief Justice Steven Kavuma banning FCD defiance campaign activities.

Justice Kavuma also banned media houses from reporting any defiance campaign activities by FDC and/or its agents.

FDC had planned to have a country wide demo dubbed ‘Free my vote’ ahead of president Yoweri Museveni’s swearing in slated for May 12.

According to the FDC presidential candidate Kizza Besigye, the demonstration is a protest against all forms of injustice meted by against Ugandans by Mr Museveni and police led by Gen. Kayihura.

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