- Statement from the Uganda Journalists Union, Kampala -
The Uganda Journalists' Union (UJU) today condenmed the closure of Kampala's privately owned 88.5 Super FM radio station by the government's Broadcasting Council (BC) for the radio's illegal commentries of the European Premier League.
The Broadcasting Council claims that the radio has no right to relay live commentaries of the popular English Premier soccer League to the Ugandan audience. Even if the radio owed the Broadcasting Council outstanding fees on levies, they should have been given reminders before closing down the radio.
In collaboration with its colleagues the UJU condemns the "militant approach" in which the broadcasting council handled the matter: closing the radio abruptly with no warning and appearing like the Broadcasting Council had a hidden agenda. The behaviour of the council is reminiscent of the older dictatorship of former president Idi Amin when militant action would be taken without first giving the accused persons or suspects a chance to defend themselves.
The closure of the radio did not only deny the people access to information but also suppressed freedom of information which the Ugandan government supposedly advocates. The journalists who work for this radio have as a result been forced into redundancy.
We hope that the Broadcasting Council will rescind their decision and open the radio to confirm the government's bid to liberalize the airwaves.
Stephen OUMA BWIRE
UGANDA JOURNALISTS UNION