UCC suspends Daily Monitor Website Over Kadaga Witchcraft Story

Uganda Communications Commission has ordered Daily Monitor to cease publishing content on its website, pending clearance from the Commission.

The commission cites among others a recent story published on the website about Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga linking her to witchcraft.

Kadaga has since denied allegations in the story, that she acquired services of a witch doctor back in the early 1990s, for which she allegedly didn’t pay.

In a letter suspending the Monitor website, UCC Executive Director, Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi revealed that the speaker lodged a complaint to the commission on Monday February 4thabout the story.

“Right Honourable Speaker of Parliament states that Monitor Publications Limited, through its online news platform, allegedly published fake news against the person of the Speaker with the intention of damaging her reputation,” Mutabazi wrote.

Mutabazi further accuses the newspaper of failing to register its website with the commission as per the August 2018 commission directive which requires all providers of online data communication services, which includes provision of online newspaper services, to register and obtain authorization from UCC.

The UCC boss thus ordered Daily Monitor to stop publishing content on its site as the commission conducts investigations into why the daily didn’t register its site, and whether or not the Kadaga story was published “in accordance with the expected standards and codes of ethics of journalism.”

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“In order to avoid a recurrence of similar breaches during the investigations… the Commission hereby directs that Monitor Publications should immediately SUSPEND any further provision of online data communications services (online newspaper services) until Monitor Publication has applied for and obtained the requisite authorisation from the Commission in accordance with law and the Commission’s earlier public directives,” he wrote.

“That Monitor Publication should within five (5) days from the date hereof submit to the Commission written representations regarding the subject story about the Hon. Speaker of Parliament, including the basis for the publication and why Monitor ignored/and failed to balance the subject story by seeking to obtain the complainant’s side of the story before publication of the same.”

Mutabazi also directed the daily to write back within five days justifying why the commission should not institute criminal proceedings against the company.

“Please note that should Monitor Publications Limited fail/or otherwise refuse to comply with any of the above directives, the Commission shall proceed to determine this compliant and may issue any regulatory sanctions in accordance with Section 41 of the Uganda Communications Act, 2013

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