Sunday, 01 November 2009 22:06
HOIMA-Journalists and religious leaders critical of the government should from now on be ready for a showdown with security agencies, a Cabinet minister has warned.
Information and National Guidance Minister, Kabakumba Matsiko, said last week that the ruling NRM will no longer tolerate media houses, journalists and clergymen who incite the public into hating the government.
She sounded the warning shortly before inspecting the equipment for the Catholic Church-founded Radio Maria in Hoima on October 29. She pledged to contribute Shs 300,000 towards the purchase of a generator to run the station.
Matsiko said that media houses that incite their listeners face closure and their broadcasting licenses revoked, while offending journalists “will be arrested and prosecuted in accordance with Uganda’s media laws.”
She further said that the media crackdown that started in Kampala in September with the closure of CBS radio, Suubi FM and Akaboozi, will spread up-country.
“It has started in Kampala and it is coming to Bunyoro. Government can no longer tolerate media that incite; incite the public to hate government at your own risk,” she warned.
She added: “All media content falls under my mandate, therefore make sure that your content promotes government programmes.”
She accused various media outlets, especially radio stations, of spreading a hate campaign against the government and certain individuals in the ruling party.
“Stick to your mission and vision and do not incite the public against their government and leaders,” Matsiko raged. She accused the closed three radio stations of coordinating the September 10-12 riots in parts of Buganda that erupted after the government blocked Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II from visiting Kayunga District to preside over a royal function.
Matsiko also warned religious leaders against participating in partisan politics. She said that the clergy who take sides in politics must also get ready for confrontation with security agencies.
“Religious leaders, reserve your political comments and sentiments; if you make a political statement, be prepared for the consequences,” she said.
Without mentioning names, Matsiko said some clergymen had overstepped their mandate of evangelism and started politicking.
“Leave politics to politicians, or be ready to bear the consequences,” she warned, as Msgr. Mathias Nyakatuura of Hoima Diocese listened.