President-elect Yoweri Museveni yesterday accused Daily Monitor of being biased against him and the NRM party, saying the paper gave more coverage to opposition party Forum for Democratic Change presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye during the elections.
However, election reports by independent media monitors indicated that Daily Monitor had given Mr Museveni more coverage than other presidential contenders, including Dr Besigye.
Addressing his maiden press briefing following the Saturday announcement by the Electoral Commission of his victory in the 2016 polls, Mr Museveni, who dismissed concerns of international poll observers about lack of a level playing field in the run up to the elections, instead complained that he is the one who had been denied a level playing field by Daily Monitor. “I have told you the problem with elections in Uganda has been multiple voting. What level playing field are they talking about? The radios are everywhere, I am the one who does not have a level playing field with [Daily] Monitor newspaper,” he said.
“They would put Besigye on top of me. They would use a big picture of Besigye, exaggerating rallies and they shrink mine or they take away a part. That Monitor here, I have defeated them,” the president said, waving a copy of the Sunday Monitor. “I tried to talk to them politely, I even rang their man [His Highness] The Aga Khan and I told him I am going to defeat your traitors here, so I have defeated them.
They are just seated here in a democratic Uganda. They would even manufacture pictures. You know they would cut and add pictures so that Besigye rallies look big……. That [Daily] Monitor newspaper has been an opposition newspaper for a long time. Now the headline today was ‘Museveni again, Museveni tuffudde! (we are dead). That was the headline. But what can [Daily] Monitor do to my support? What matters is the actual social economic condition of our people,” Mr Museveni said.
However, according to the African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) Media Coverage of the 2016 Elections findings, Daily Monitor gave Mr Museveni more front–page prominence, ahead of Dr Besigye and Independent presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi, who both got less than 25 per cent of the coverage.
For example in the ACME November 2015 findings, Mr Museveni got 28.9 per cent front–page prominence, Mr Mbabazi, 26.5 per cent, while got Dr Besigye got 24.1 per cent coverage.
The media monitoring reports also indicated that Daily Monitor had provided fairly balanced coverage of the three main presidential candidates and also provided space and covered issues that were being championed by all the contenders.