No More Hosting Politicians Wearing Red Berets: Gov’t Orders Media Houses Ahead Of General Elections

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No More Hosting Politicians Wearing Red Berets: Gov't Orders Media Houses Ahead Of General Elections
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Government has directed all media houses in the country to deny entry to all guests who come donning red-berets, which are synonymous with members of the National Unity Platform (NUP).

The directive was issued on Tuesday by government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo in a meeting with media owners under their association of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB).

“The gazette by Uganda People’s Defence forces stands until its quashed by a court of law. Anyone who wanted to stop the process would have sought court injunction but for now it is illegal, any media house that will insist on hosting people in red-berets will do so illegally”, Ofono Opondo said.

This development comes after Members of national association of broadcasters (NAB) were meeting with security officials at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence Offices on Tuesday.

During the meeting, NAB chairman, Kin Kariisa asked security agencies to work on the brutality of the forces against their journalists and panelists, at a time when the country is preparing for the 2021 general elections.

According government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo, it was agreed that media owners shall not allow any politician wearing red berets and any other attire that resembles that of the military and breaching the set guidelines will attract severe consequences to the media houses.

“It will be a breach and if you want to persist, you can persist and consequences shall follow you,” Ofwono warned.

The engagement was also meant to iron out other potential areas of conflict and misunderstanding between the media and security agencies during the election period. The parties on the other hand reached an understanding on the manner in which security officers ought to engage with media organizations that’s if they are suspected to have broken the rules of engagement, the laws established and protocols. Also key on the agenda was the way in which security agencies conduct their operations during the campaign period.

Media owners pointed out incidences where radio and TV stations have been raided and politicians arrested after talk shows and also some media houses closed especially in rural areas.

“Those incidences don’t look good in the eyes of the public but also don’t depict the democracy we’re trying to form,” said Kin Karisa the chairman of the National Association of Broadcasters in Uganda.

A committee comprising of representatives from media houses and security agencies chaired by government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo was formed and it is through this that all concerns from the two parties will be discussed and solved.

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The meeting was attended by the chief of defence forces Gen. David Muhoozi, deputy Inspector General of police Gen. Sabiiti Muzeyi, Prisons boss Johnson Byabashaija among others.

its worth noting that last week, NUP Secretary General David Lewis Rubongoya was arrested minutes after appearing on the NBS Frontline show and police noted that the arrest was because of a red beret he was wearing during the show.

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