Monday January 7 2013

UCC suspends two radio talk shows

By Agencies

The Uganda Communication Commission has suspended two poplar political talk shows on Hits FM, a local radio station in Fort Portal.

Orukurato and Ekitanganzo have been airing on Hits FM since February last year. The panel on both talk shows includes district and municipal council leaders, MPs, human rights activists and civil society activists.

The shows have been focusing on accountability of public funds and service delivery. Ekitanganzo has been airing every week on Thursday while Orukurato on Saturday. Mr Willy Magezi, the Hits FM manager says that he received a directive from UCC to stop airing both programmes until they investigate the content of the talk shows.

He said that UCC’s letter claims that talk show guests have been inciting violence against some government officials. According to Mr Magezi, the radio was also told to avail recordings to the commission of all political talk shows and programmes for investigations. He says that the suspension of the talk shows could have been engineered by local politicians.

Mr Nulu Byamukama, the proprietor of Hits FM confirmed the development.

Mr Byamukama, who represents Kitegwenda County in Kamwenge District on the ruling National Resistance Movement ticket, said he was told to adjust the content of the talk shows and broadcast government developmental projects instead of airing controversial political issues. Mr William Gonza, the moderator of the talk shows said that on December 29, 2012, he was supposed to host Mr Alex Ruhunda, the Fort Portal Municipality MP, but he was stopped by the manager on grounds that the talk show had been suspended.

UCC’s Executive Director Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi, refused to comment on the matter saying that he was attending a meeting.

The suspension of the two talk shows comes a month after detectives in Fort Portal demanded audio recordings from Hits and Better FM after some presenters at the two radio stations were accused of defaming the First Lady and Minister for Karamonja Affairs, Janet Museveni. The detectives alleged that the panelists referred to Ms Museveni as a thief, who had embezzled funds meant for the people of northern Uganda.

Speaking at a thanksgiving service he hosted at State House Entebbe last month, President Yoweri Museveni vowed to close radio stations that host undisciplined civilians. Mr Museveni accused the ‘civilians’ of using radio stations to create disharmony and to de-campaign development projects.