Two journalists remanded over operating media house without licence

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Two journalists remanded over  operating media house without licence
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Two journalists, Alirabaki Sengooba and Dickson Mubiru, from Grapevine Publications and Ono Bwiino Newspaper, have been remanded to Luzira Prison on charges of publishing information without a valid broadcasting license.

The journalists were arrested on June 18, 2024, and were held at Kampala Central Police Station.

Their remand followed their appearance before Buganda Road Court magistrate Ronald Kayizzi on Thursday afternoon to respond to the charges.

According to state attorney Ivan Kyazze, Mubiru, Sengooba, and others still at large in Kampala published a story on Grape Vine without a valid broadcasting license from the Uganda Communications Commission.

Prosecution also alleges that on May 15, 2024, within Kampala district, the accused published a story titled “Lawyer Kalali, Justice Nkonge Clash Over Court Case File” on Grape Vine without the requisite license.

The journalists denied the charges .Their lawyer, Nasser Kibazo, requested bail and a temporary adjournment to prepare the necessary documents.

Magistrate Kayizzi remanded the journalists to Luzira Prison until Friday, June 21, 2024, when their bail application will be considered.

"We strongly protest the continued detention of journalists Arirabaki Sengooba and Dickson Mubiru of Grape Vine Publications and Ono Bwiino Newspaper, who were arrested on Tuesday, June 18, 2024, and detained at Kampala Central Police Station (CPS) while in the line of duty," said journalists body, UJA.

The arrests are linked to two news stories: one involving a dispute between lawyer Steven Kalali and High Court Judge Alexandra Nkonge Rugadya, and another implicating the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) in corruption scandals in Parliament.

UJA emphasised the fundamental role of press freedom in a democratic society, stating, "Press freedom, as a cornerstone to the growth of democracy in any society like Uganda, includes freedom of expression that should be protected by the state and non-state actors as opposed to imposing limitations against the same."

The association has vowed to defend the journalists' rights until they are freed.

"In any case, UJA is determined to defend the detainees' rights and freedoms until they regain their freedom," said UJA.

The Deputy Spokesperson for Kampala Metropolitan Police, Luke Owoyesigire, told the Nile Post earlier that the two reporters were accused of making defamatory statements.

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