Thursday, July 8, 2010

Court stays Bimeeza (open air talk show) case

Kampala; 08th/07/2010; High Court in Kampala has stayed open air talk show case and referred it to constitutional court for interpretation.

In today’s hearing before justice Zehurikize, attorney general chambers to challenge the constitutionality of the rule under which the application was filled before court. The case was filled under “Notice of Motion” basing on the enforcement procedures passed by the Rules Committee of the Judiciary and Art.22 of the Constitution.

The Broadcasting Council chairman Eng. Godfrey Mutabaazi and the minister of information and national guidance Kabakumba Matsiko banned the open air talk show in the aftermath of September last year riots on technical grounds.

The senior state attorney Nelson Karuhanga said, the Rules Committee usurped powers of parliament which is mandated under article 50 to enact laws to enforce freedoms and rights enshrined in the constitution of republic of Uganda. “I ask this honorable court to refer this matter for constitutional interpretation” Karuhanga said.

A group of open air talk show beneficiaries led by Church Ambrose Bukenya dragged the government to court arguing that the government was wrong to ban the open-talk shows saying, the ban is intended to gag the public, which he called a breach of the right to freedom of speech, freedom of expression and free media guaranteed by the constitution of the Republic of Uganda.

The open air talk-shows were ran by many public and private radio stations as far as 2000 to provide platform to different class of people including ordinary Ugandans as a way to enhance their participation in the governance issues and holding their leaders accountable among others.

During the open air talk-shows, several persons would gather in any place outside the studio of a radio station and publicly exchange views on any topic including politics, religion, commerce, culture, sports and the like and the exchange of views was broadcast live.

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