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Uganda Threatens to Close Radio Stations


There’s concern among Ugandan journalists and free speech advocates about government efforts to curb some forms of criticism of President Yoweri Museveni, as well as controversial topics of discussion. The government recently threatened to close radio stations that it says “abuse the president” or use “offensive language.”

Some see the rulings as efforts to curb debate on such contentious issues as presidential term limits and a possible move to multi-party politics. Among those concerned are a number of FM radio stations with popular call-in shows and other programs expressing independent political opinions.

Joshua Kyalimba is a producer and talk show host for Radio Simba, an independent station in Kampala. The government criticized the station for airing a call-in show on homosexuality and the movement by gay activists for political rights. Another independent station, the popular Luganda-language “CBS,” came under scrutiny by the government for airing criticisms of President Yoweri Museveni by political activists and callers from the Bugandan kingdom, which is seeking greater political autonomy.

Mr. Kyalimba says strengthened government regulations are leading to self-censorship and are the curtailment of freedom of speech. He told English to Africa reporter William Eagle Radio Simba is considering the purchase of costly technology that would delay the remarks of talk show callers and guests, so the station can delete any comments that might offend the government.

See: www.simba.fm or feedback@simba.fm

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