The Resident District Commissioner [RDC] Lira has come out to defend his action for closing one of the Lango’s popular radio stations, 97.7 Unity Fm.
Odongo – speaking in an exclusive interview with this contemporary news website at the weekend [Saturday], says the radio was closed for breaching the law.
Asked to quote that law [s] he relied on, he answered: “The issue of radio unity, you contact Uganda Communications Commission [UCC].
Earlier, there were reports that the RDC used his ‘prerogative’ to close the radio on claim that it was inciting public to protest against Indian traders in the sub-region – other reports, from sources near him say he was directed from above.
However, on Saturday, Mr Odongo vehemently denied being ordered to shut the popular radio.
“No. I’m above 18 years and I can’t be influenced by anybody. No. It’s the law that closed radio unity. It was closed by the law not an individual,” he said.
It’s worth noting that before any protests broke in Kole and Lira districts [town] following the alleged killing of Dickens Okello who was 11 years by two Indian traders, early this month; seven days after, RDC Milton Odongo issued a statement in which he threatened to shut media houses [radios] in Lango.
He accuses local radios of going overboard with their daily businesses, especially on matters which surrounded the killing of innocent Kole boy and fake postmortem report issued by Police.
According to UCC’s Broadcasting Standards in Uganda Journal [under minimum broadcasting standards], section 31, schedule 4 of the UCC Act, it says: “Any programme which is broadcast: (i) is not contrary to public morality, (ii) doesn’t promote the culture of violence or ethnical prejudice among the public, especially the children and youth, (iii) is not likely to create public insecurity or violence, among others.
In the same UCC journal, it says: “Promoting sectarianism is an offense under section 41 of the Penal Code, Cap 120;
- A person who prints, publishes or utters any statement or does any act which is likely to – (a) degrade, revile or expose to hatred or contempt; (b) create alienation or despondency of; (c) raise discontent or disaffection among; or (d) promote, in any other way, feelings of ill will or hostility among or against, any group or body of persons on account of religion, tribe or ethnic or regional origin commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.
Also, the commission underpins that incitement to violence is an offense under section 83 of the Penal Code, Cap 120. It says:
- Any person who incites any other person to do an act of violence against any person be reason of his or her race, place of origin, political opinion, color, creed or sex or office commits an offense and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years.
Read more on www.ucc.co.ug
Last week, UCC directed all local radios in Lango sub-region to hand over to them recordings during the period in which some youth conducted protests against Indian traders.
Until now, radio unity remains closed and UCC is yet to make a public pronouncement on the matter.