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MPs weigh motion on Red Pepper staff detention

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KAMPALA (@UG_EDGE) – During plenary this week, Buhweju County MP Hon Francis Mwijukye rose on the issue of the closure of the Red Pepper tabloid and imprisonment of its staff.

Mwijukye said that it should not be seen as an isolated case as the editors of Daily Monitor [Charles Bichachi] and The New Vision editor Felix Osike are on bail on media related cases.

“This is suffocation of the media,” he told Kadaga who directed Members of Parliament to table a motion on media freedoms in the country.

During the November 22nd raid on the Pepper Publications, directors Arinaitwe Rugyendo, Patrick Mugumya, Johnson Musinguzi, Richard Tusiime and James Mujuni, and editors Ben Byarabaha, Richard Kintu and Tumusiime Francis, were arrested.

They were arraigned before the Buganda Road Court Chief magistrate, James Ereemye Mawanda on charges of offensive communication and disturbing the peace of President Yoweri Museveni, security minister Henry Tumukunde and Gen. Salim Saleh.

Ereemye remanded the accused to Luzira Prison after prosecution asked for time to study the bail application.

They are expected to return to court on December 19th for their bail application ruling.

Daily Monitor’s Executive Editor Charles Bichachi was charged with offensive communication and libel following a complaint by the Igara West MP, Raphael Magyezi about a story titled ‘Age Limit Budget For 23-Man Team Leaks’.

The New Vision Investigations Editor, Felix Osike was also questioned on similar charges over a story titled ‘Kayihura Security beefed Op’ that ran in Saturday Vision on October 28th.

Mwijukye also told parliament that Top Radio recently directed it presenters not to host anybody critical of government especially members of opposition in response to a letter from Uganda Communications Commission [UCC].

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