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Uganda bans live TV coverage of opposition protests

May 5, 2016

The Ugandan government on Thursday banned all live television coverage of protests organised by the country’s main opposition leader against the re-election of President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power for 30 years.

“Government has taken decision to stop live coverage of (Kizza) Besigye defiance campaign. The ban takes immediate effect,” Uganda information minister Jim Muhwezi told AFP.

“Any media which contravenes this directive issued in furtherance of a court order stopping Besigye from carrying out a defiance campaign risks loosing its broadcast license.” he added.

He accused Besigye of carrying out a campaign to disrupt Museveni’s swearing-in ceremony “and to cause anarchy with an objective of using unconstitutional means to take over power and we can’t allow that.”

Besigye, who came in second in the February presidential poll, had called on his supporters to protest against Museveni’s fifth term in office.

He has accused Museveni’s camp of fraud during the vote which, according to international observers, was carried out in an “atmosphere of intimidation” by the regime.

Museveni is set to be sworn in on May 12 in Kampala.

The US embassy in Uganda said on Twitter that “the government of Uganda’s decision to ban media coverage of FDC (Besigye’s party) is truly disappointing just days after the World Press Freedom day (May 3)”.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.