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Hon. Mary Karooro Okurut Inaugurates new Media Council


Saturday, 1st October 2011

Information and National Guidance Minister, Hon. Mary Karooro Okurut, has appointed a new Media Council to carry on its work of regulating the Media.

The eleven member Council is composed of representatives of the Media, the Public, Mass Communication Scholars, Uganda Law Society, National Institute of Journalists of Uganda (NIJU), the Public and Government.

The Media Council was constituted in 1995 following the enactment of the Press and Journalists Act 1995 to:
(a) regulate the conduct of and promote good ethical standards and discipline of Journalists
(b) arbitrate disputes between the Public and the Media and between the State and the Media
(c censure films, video tapes, plays and other related apparatuses for public consumption
(d) exercise any function that may be authorized or required by any Law.

The past Media Councils have arbitrated several disputes and complaints arising out of media publications. Most notable was the banning of the play entitled “Vagina Monologues” supported by a section of women activists. The Council ruled that the play was corrupting the morals of our society.

The Council also awarded damages to the fallen Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi. The Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Peoples Bureau in Uganda launched a complaint to the Council on his behalf against the Red Pepper Newspaper.

The Red Pepper had published several stories linking Muammar Gadaffi to a love affair with the Toro Queen Mother.

The Council also, dismissed on technical grounds, a case filed by the Uganda Police on behalf of Government against The Monitor, The New Vision, The Red Pepper and The Observer Newspapers where it listed 53 cases against them.
The Media Council is a statutory body with a Disciplinary Committee with powers of a Magistrates Court. It adjudicates cases and in case parties are not satisfied with its judgment, they can always appeal to the High Court.

The new Council unanimously re-elected Dr. Goretti Nassanga of Makerere University as Chairperson. She is deputized by Mr. Paul Ekochu, a lawyer and Manager of Voice of Teso.
The late Professor Fr. John Mary Waliggo and the late former Minister Omwony Ojwok are past Chairmen of the Media Council.

Whereas some members of the old Council were re-appointed, there are also new members who include:
1. Ms Linda Nabusayi Wamboka representing The National Institute of Journalists of Uganda (NIJU)
2. Mr. Okello Jabweri Peter representing The National Institute of Journalists of Uganda (NIJU)
3. Mrs. Assumpta Kemigisha Sebunya representing the Uganda Law Society

Those who have been re-appointed are:
1. Associate Professor Dr. Goretti Nassanga representing Scholars
2. Dr. Katebalirwe Amooti Wa Irumba representing Scholars
3. Mr. Paul Ekochu representing the Electronic Media
4. Mr. Kawooya Mwebe representing the Electronic Media
5. Ms Lina Zedriga representing Uganda Newspapers, Editors and Proprietors Association (UNEPA)

Mr. Sunday Wilson Ojiambo representing the Public.

Mr. Venis Omona representing the Public