Uganda Commission Commission has written to the management of Monitor Publications Limited, the parent company for Daily Monitor suspending the news website over the story involving the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga her and a witch doctor.
Last week Monitor news website published a story that a traditional healer, Damiano Akuze, who in a lawsuit claims to have propelled Speaker Kadaga to political prominence.
By the time of filing this story, the court had not summoned the Speaker to file her defence as court was set the hearing date after Kadaga filing her response to the suit.
However in a statement issued on Friday, the Clerk to Parliament Ms Jane Kibirige said Ms Kadaga has never been a member of EALA and was elected Speaker in May 2011 due to hard work and not witchcraft. Akuze alleges in his suit that Ms Kadaga has served as East African Assembly. Delegate, among other positions.
Kibirige said Ms Kadaga was appointed minister in 1996, seven years since she had been elected to Parliament.
“Therefore, Mr Akuze’s claim that he catapulted her to the post of Minister within a flash should be treated with contempt it deserves,” she said. In a letter dated February 6, 2019, and titled directive to stop illegal provision of data communication services (Online newspaper) in Uganda.
“Reference is made to the above subject matter and the commission’s directivr and public notices dated March 20, 2018 and April 4, 2018 wherein all providers of oline data communication services, which includes provision of online newspaper services, were directed to register and obtain authorization from the Uganda Communications Commission” reads the letter.
It further continues “Further reference is made to a complaint dated February 4, 2019 from the Office of Speaker of Parliament of Uganda wherein the Speaker states that Monitor Publication Limited through its online news platform allegedly published fake news against the person of the Speaker with the intention of damaging her reputation”.
However, UCC’s says that in its preliminary investigations, they have revealed that Monitor Publications limited actively runs an online newspaper platform, which falls within the scope of data communication services, provision of which requires one to obtain an authorization from UCC in accordance with sections 5 (1) and 27 of Uganda Communication Act 2013, which Monitor Publication has never applied for.
UCC furthers says that whereas they have in accordance with sections 5 (1) (j),31,45 and schedule 4 of Uganda Communication Act 2013, commenced full investigations into the subject complaint to determine whether/ or not MPL published the subject story in accordance with expected standards and codes of ethics of journalism.
In order to avoid a recurrence of similar breaches during the investigations, and in view of the fact that MPL refused to obtain the requisite authorization for the provision of data communication services in Uganda, the commission directs as follows:
“That Monitor Publications should immediately suspend any further provision of online data communication services (online paper services) until MPL has applied for and obtained the requsite authorization from the commission in accordance with the law and communication’s earlier public directives”