Monday, May 17, 2010

Central Broadcasting Service (CBS) case hearing for 8th/July/2010

By HRNJ-Uganda News Team
Court has fixed July 8th/2010 to start hearing the Central Broadcasting Service (CBSfm) failure government to produce settlement report.

This follows the Attorney General (AG) chambers failure to meet today’s deadline to show to court the commitment to settle the case out of court.

Uganda has lately joined few states on the globe that explore possibilities of mediation to settle civil cases outside court before cases of that nature are heard but the process seem to be not adhered to by the state.

Over 102 CBSfm employees dragged Broadcasting Council to court challenging the closure of the radio arguing that the closure was unlawful and purported to revoke its license. They further contest council powers used to execute the closure contrary to the Electronic Media Act or any other applicable laws.

High Court Judge Vincent Zehurikize while meeting both parties this morning expressed concern over the mediation processes are being abused. “What I have found out is that there are invisible litigants who are frustrating the process but I will hear this case on July 8th/2010” Justice Zehurikize said. If the attorney general chambers fails to avail settlement report he will go ahead to schedule and hear the case.

Employees led by Florence Luwedde argue that the forceful and alleged confiscation of CBS assets on 10th September 2009 was contrary to Electronic Media Act where Broadcasting Council has no legal right to withdraw license. They are seeking compensation in damages and lose of over 8 billion shillings.

Senior state attorney Patricia Mutetsi reported to court that effort to set-up a team comprising of officials from Broadcasting Council, ICT Ministry and Uganda Communication Commission hasn’t been realized before talks with CBSfm.

Broadcasting Council arbitrarily and excessively switched off five radio stations including CBSfm in the aftermath of September 10th, 11th and 12th riots. Three stations have since been re-opened.

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