The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has been sued for contempt of court over its report that pinned several media houses on breaching broadcasting standards.
On Monday, UCC released findings of its investigation into the alleged breach of minimum broadcasting standards by six TV stations and seven radio stations in which the media houses were found culpable of contradicting the minimum standards as enshrined in section 31 of the Uganda Communications Act 2013.
However, two citizens including Ronald Bwire and Henry Byensi have taken to the civil division of the High Court to sue UCC and its Executive Director, Godfrey Mutabazi for contempt of court when they went ahead with the said investigations even after being stopped by court.
“The impugned investigations have been ongoing in total disregard of this honorable court’s orders forbidding the implementation of the respondent’s directive dated April 30, 2019 until the final determination of the judicial review application,” the duo aver in the new suit.
In an April 30 communication, UCC ordered a number of media houses including; NBS TV, NTV, Salt TV, BBS TV, Bukedde TV, Kingdom TV, Capital FM, CBS FM, Simba FM, Pearl FM, Akaboozi FM, Beat FM, and Sapientia FM, to suspend their producers, head of news and head of programs or else they risk sanctions prompting NAB to write back to them asking for a reversal of the orders.
In May, the High Court ordered the Uganda Communication Commission not to implement its order for the suspension of several journalists and any other investigations until the main suit in which the communication regulator was dragged to court is disposed of.
In the latest suit, the duo of Byensi and Bwire says the findings by UCC contained in their recent report are meant to pre-empt the ongoing case in court, a thing they says is illegal.
The findings and recommendations contained in the report by UCC were made in blatant disregard of the court order and the principle of subjudice.”
The duo also wants court to order UCC pay damages of six billion shillings and a fine of four million shillings for contempt of court.
In April, UCC accused 13 media houses of breaching minimum broadcasting standards through their live coverage of events surrounding the arrest of Kyadondo East Member of Parliament Robert Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine.
UCC said that the broadcasts by the said media houses contained a misrepresentation of information, views, facts and events in a manner that would mislead or cause alarm to the public.