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Red Pepper journalists cry to govt over closure

Journalists working with the Red Pepper have appealed to government to reopen their offices so they can resume work as investigations and trial against their editors and the media house continue.

Their appeal comes more than a week since the arrest and detention of eight directors and editorts over a story they published indicating that President Yoweri Museveni was plotting to overthrow Rwanda President Paul Kagame.  

The eight have since appeared in court where they were charged with publication of a news story prejudicial to national security and publication of a story that defamed President Museveni, his brother Gen Salim Saleh and Security Minister Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde.
Red Pepper offices
They were also charged with the use of the electronic system to publish information that portrayed Museveni, Saleh and Tumukunde as if they are planning to overthrow Kagame. Prosecutors argue that the report subjected the trio to ridicule, contempt and hatred.

However, the rest of the staff say that the publication should be left to continue normal operations, even with the ongoing trial of their editors and directors. They say that the closure of the media house threatens the welfare of hundreds of staff members who have been rendered redundant by the action.

Andrew Irumba, one of the journalists attached to the media house says that the shutdown is a violation of the rights of workers at the entire organization. He says many of them are stranded.

"They took all our gadgets, even people who are not concerned about the story. Why don't they enable us who are not being charged to continue with our work" Irumba told URN.

Ritah Namuwulya Lukyamuzi, another journalist says the action has put them in a state of uncertainty since it remains unclear if the media house will be reopened in the near future. She fears that many of them could lose their sole source of income.
 
"Well, I do come to parliament to see what’s going - not to keep myself behind but I do nothing else apart from coming and finding out what is happening. I feel so bad because this is a loss to me as me, I am not earning anything, I have children and I have children to take care of. And the fact that we don’t know what is going to happen. I don’t know what to say. I’m feeling a lot of pity for my bosses who are in Luzira [prison]", she said.

Prisca Wanyenya, asks that government considers other options of holding the media house accountable than closing it entirely.
 
"As writers we’re at pain because our main source of income is being tampered with. But we’re also at pain on behalf of our readers because I for one know that Red Pepper has one of the most beautiful readers. So I’m at pain that our readers are missing out on a lot of information because we had our own content that readers expect from us", Wanyenya.

Col Shaban Bantariza, the deputy director of Uganda Media Centre says that although government sympathizes with workers of Red Pepper, It cannot stop the law from taking its course. 
 
"Whereas we’re sympathetic to those who are not working and what happened is not even their fault because if an editor cannot see that he has run a story which is an accomplice to the problem. The reporters, the news writers, the correspondents, the media house they are innocent. Unfortunately, the reporters together with the media house they are not free to operate while investigations are going on. Let them be patient a bit, the Red Pepper will be opened to operate", Bantariza.

On Monday, Buganda Road court denied bail to the editors and directors and sent them back to Luzira prison. It is not the first time Red Pepper is closed, in May 2013, security closed Red Pepper and Daily Monitor offices for nearly a month over a document written by Gen David Sejusa.

Comments   

0 #1 Remase 2017-12-01 15:36
"Col Shaban Bantariza, the deputy director of Uganda Media Centre says that although government sympathizes with workers of Red Pepper, It cannot stop the law from taking its course."

Fellow Ugandans, that statement clearly shows that there is no rule of law in Uganda! Where is the court order that states that Red Pepper was found guilty and should be closed?

Furthermore, why are the suspects being jailed without bail? M7 has no shame, never has and never will! M7 is a complete tyrant and until we get rid of him, nothing will ever change.

Media houses are being shutdown without the due process. CBS, Monitor. Radio Sapietia and others were closed down arbitrarily. Now Red Pepper is shutdown arbitrarily! The Bantariza comes out and say that the law is taking its course!! Oh really?
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0 #2 gwok 2017-12-01 16:27
Sir, you are beating the drum that has been beaten before.

There are no dancers for it NOW.
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+2 #3 magotfuli 2017-12-01 17:09
Sad that you are out of a paycheck but this goes for all those that like to smear others that maybe you should think twice next time.

Red pepper will learn that libel is a serious offense and can ruin reputations.
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0 #4 Didaz 2017-12-02 02:13
Remase, There used to be a President in Uganda who was quoted as saying that free speech was allowed but he could not guarantee anyone's safety after free speech.

How does that resonate with your view?
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0 #5 Lakwena 2017-12-02 11:05
In other words, except clinging onto power the regime is not bothered about unemployment, dwindling tax revenue and poverty.
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0 #6 sn 2017-12-02 15:16
Any appeal should go directly to Frank Tumwebaze who was one of ther own. He is best placed to plead for them.
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0 #7 fkyyyyyy 2017-12-04 09:16
No tears for Red Pepper. You antagonized too many people.
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