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State House orders Journalist to delete Mbabazi’s congratulatory message from magazine and apologize. (Demo)

Kiruhura, 05th/August/2015; The Managing Director of Eshato Publications Limited, Pison Mugizi has been ordered to delete Mbabazi’s congratulatory message from a consecration magazine of the new Bishop of the North Ankole Diocese, Nathan Namanya.

Information obtained by Human Rights Network for Journalist-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) indicates that this occurred at a meeting convened by the Diocesan Secretary of North Ankole Diocese, Canon Patrick Tinka, and was attended by the clergy and another official said to be a State House operative, who was introduced as ‘Chairman.’

On 2nd , August 2015, Mugizi a resident of Bushenyi district and his colleague, Robert Bingana of Ibanda district were arrested, while supervising the sale of the Magazines at the consecration venue at Rushere in Kiruhura district, where President Yoweri Museveni was the Chief Guest. He was detained at Kiruhura Police station, from 9:00 AM and released at 7:30 PM without any charge preferred against him. Copies of the Magazine were confiscated and others removed from those that had bought personal ones.

The North Ankole Diocese had contracted Eshato Publications Ltd. to publish a consecration magazine of Bishop Nathan Namanya. The company was allowed to get congratulatory messages from all Ugandans at a fee. The former Prime Minister and presidential hopeful Amama Mbabazi booked a page in the magazine, and so his congratulatory message was carried on page two.

Canon Tinka confirmed to HRNJ-Uganda that the said meeting took place, “We had a meeting with him then we resolved some issues. After one week, we will come back to the meeting and resolve the matter. Mbabazi does not even know where North Ankole is; so there is nothing much there, we shall finish it, there is no need of Human Rights, no need of lawyers…” Canon Tinka said

Sources told HRNJ-Uganda that during the meeting, Eshato Publications Ltd. was told to print over 150 new copies of the magazine without Mbabazi’s congratulatory message. They were further told to apologize to the diocese for having incorporated the message in the magazine. Sources told HRNJ-Uganda that, “State House put pressure on the diocese to have the message deleted.

“We believe that this is violation of freedom of expression and the media. Free speech should not be criminalized by the State. The media should be allowed to operate freely even where dissenting views and opinions are concerned. Mugizi’ magazines should be released to him since no charges where preferred against him.” Said the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala

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