Journalists covering parliament under their umbrella body, Uganda Parliamentary Press Association(UPPA) have issued a protest note to the Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary , Ramathan Ggoobi over the ban on sate advertising in private media.
In a July, 21, 2023 protest note also copied to the Speaker of Parliament, her deputy , Prime Minister, ICT Minister and UCC, UPPA president, Samuel Ibanda Mugabi said the directive by is against the “very spirit of the NRM government’s well-known stance to enact policies that champion a private sector led economy.”
“In a democratic society, a robust media serves as the backbone of transparency, empowering citizens with reliable information to make informed decisions,” Mugabi said.
He therefore noted that parliamentary journalists have joined the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) resolution to boycott all government activities until this matter is brought to an amicable conclusion.
“We shall not thereafter cover any government event until this decision is rescinded.”
The Ministry of Finance Permanent Secretary, Ramathan Ggoobi earlier this month asked all accounting officers to ensure all government adverts are placed in government-owned media houses.
“…all government advertising must be through the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation [UBC]. Any accounting officer who deviates from this will be sanctioned including dismissal. Print media advertising should be done through the New Vision. I, therefore, urge all accounting officers to strictly adhere to the directive,” Ggoobi said.
He said he was emphasizing an earlier directive by President Museveni to the Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja that with effect from the 2024/25 financial year budget, Uganda Broadcasting Corporation(UBC) be given all government advertisement deals.
The directive has kicked up dust with broadcasters under their umbrella body, the National Association of Broadcasters(NAB) protesting against the move.
They have since announced a boycott of all government programs.
“The directive on advertising is an affront to free speech and the democratic principles that the government has been promoting. We are willing to discuss this matter, but until a mutually agreeable solution is reached, we stand firm in our decision,” NAB’s Secretary General, Joseph Beyanga said in a letter to government this week.
However, it was report on Friday that President Museveni will next month meet broadcasters over this directive.
“His excellency the president is scheduled to meet with the executive of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) on the 10th of August, 2023 at 12:00noon at State House Entebbe,” a letter by the Principal Private Secretary to the president, Dr.Kenneth Omona said in part.
The Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja is also expected to attend the meeting