RDC orders for radio closure as Gulu based journalist is charged with criminal libel

Chowoo Willy at a media forum in Dar es salaam (Web photo)

Gulu, 15th February 2018; The Resident District Commissioner (RDC) of Gulu District in Northern Uganda Capt. Santos Okot Lapolo on 13th February 2018 recommended the closure of Radio Maria, a Catholic owned media house on allegations that it was causing disunity among the people.

In a letter addressed to the Minister for ICT & National Guidance under Ref: ADM/176, Capt. Santos alleged that the Radio had been airing live Sunday Masses in which the preachers utter false information, preach against government programs, agencies and other faith based organizations.

According to the letter, the latest utterance had been aired on 11th February 2018 in which Rev. Father Charles Onen allegedly accused the Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Northern Uganda of involvement in the burning of catholic rosaries in a crusade held at Kaunda Grounds in Gulu town.

In the same vein Chowoo Willy a journalist and News Editor working with Choice FM in Gulu was arrested on 12th February 2018 and charged with criminal libel for allegedly posting the audio of Rev. Father Charles Onen’s Sunday sermon on his Facebook timeline.

Chowoo Willy told HRNJ-Uganda that he was called by Capt. Santos Okot Lapolo the Gulu Resident District Commissioner to his office, arrested and taken to Gulu Central Police Station. He was charged with criminal libel, recorded a statement and later given bond.

We call on the Minister for ICT and other stakeholders to first fully investigate and verify the allegations made by the RDC against Radio Maria before taking any action. The Police should hasten investigations into allegations of criminal libel and have Chowoo Willy achieve justice by defending himself at the earliest opportunity in the courts of law.” Said the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator Robert Ssempala.


Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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