Amb. Attilio Pacifici head of the European Union to Uganda.

Diplomats in Uganda have castigated the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) for recently ordering private broadcast media houses to suspend their senior staff on account of allegedly failing to adhere to the set minimum broadcasting standards.

In a joint local statement on restrictions to freedom of expression and assembly in Uganda, the European Union Delegation, the Heads of Mission of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom and the Heads of Mission of Iceland, Japan, Norway, Republic of Korea and United States said they were deeply concerned with the restriction of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly in Uganda.

“We are deeply concerned with a series of recent incidents restricting the freedom of expression and freedom of assembly in Uganda. Of particular concern to us is the Uganda Communications Commission’s decision, on April 30, to suspend senior staff members of 13 radio and television stations on allegations of breaching minimum broadcasting standards,” they said in their statement of May 3, 2019.

“We are also concerned about the excessive use of force by Ugandan police and security services against peaceful protesters and political opposition,” they added.

The diplomats said Uganda’s Constitution, as well as regional and international standards, guarantee both freedom of speech and expression as well as freedom of assembly. “We urge the Government of Uganda to ensure the implementation of all the relevant laws and regulations in a way that allows all Ugandans, regardless of political affiliation, to exercise fully and without fear their basic democratic rights enshrined in the Constitution,” the said.

They underlined the importance of upholding judicial processes and stress the importance of full respect for the Rule of Law and the right to a fair trial as set down in the Constitution.