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Chaos in Kampala; ‘Ebimeeza’ burned and three radio stations closed

People running with hands lifted up, blocked road and people stranded in traffic, school children stranded at their schools, burning vehicles, hit and run battles between Baganda youth not excluding the injured and dead etc were all scenes in Kampala.

Thursday 10th to Saturday 12th September 2009 have been days of running battles between the government (police) and Baganda loyalists over the refusal to allow the Kabaka (Buganda’s traditional king) to visit Kayunga, a district said to be having minority Baganda. This did not only bring business to a stand still and force people to stay in their homes but has lead to the closure of three radio stations, arrest of one journalist and burning of Ebimeeza (radio broadcast forums where people meet on weekends to discuss currents issues).

 The Ebimeeza are forums that have given Ugandans the ability to easily and quickly transmit their opinions on public policy or any current issues hence have increased the role of citizens in influencing policy making, (call it citizen Journalism).

While not condoning riots, the closure of media houses and arrest of journalists confirms that journalism freedom is still limited. As much as Uganda may boost or be rated among the 15 countries in Africa with the freest press, liberalized airwaves and open space for discussion in the public, the extent to which this true is limited to whether what is being reported or discussed threatens government’s sovereignty.

Burning of Ebimeeza has implications to the growth of citizen journalism in the country and the continued closure of media houses and arrest of journalist infringes on the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the media to inform or educating the public.

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About The Story Teller

Passionate about Gender and ICT Issues, participates in awareness raising /capacity building activities on Gender & ICTs aimed at up lifting the status of women and girls in Uganda

One response »

  1. Well I think closing those radio stations was not the best way to go about the whole situation. This made the mobs to even go crazier! Personally I will put the blame on the government because I was not in position to protect its own people after the government it self put off the people leading to a very terrible situation. Many people died, cars and property was burnt and stolen.
    But that doesnt mean that the people were right to behave like animals. The central parts of Uganda were all filled with terror, businesses and schools stood still.
    How on earth do we expect to develop if our country is not at peace?
    Great post Berna, keep posting.

    Reply

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