As business closes today, Tuesday 20, May 20, 2014, its exactly a year since Uganda Police on orders of the central government raided and sieged the premises of Red Pepper Publications Limited, the publishers of The Red Pepper and Monitor Publications Limited the publishers of Daily Monitor.
The events came in the wake of a controversial letter purportedly authored by the former Coordinator of Intelligence Services, Gen. David Sejusa, published partially by the mighty Pepper!
“To me it was the darkest period for the media in as far as I have been involved,” Pepper’s Patrick Mugumya wrote on his blog
“But I would like to make a few things clear. Contrary to what many have said on social media, the undertakings made by the several media organizations do not weaken the media in Uganda,” he emphasized.
“The siege weakened the media but the damage is largely financial and is not fatal.
“The undertakings with government on the other hand give the media a new life, they don’t weaken the media in Uganda at all.
“Today we rant that media houses have made undertakings with the government, but we must not forget that without government the media in Uganda wouldn’t exist in its current form.
Eleven days later, Uganda’s then outgoing Internal Affairs minister Hillary Onek on a Thursday ordered police to immediately vacate the Pepper Publications premises – with chest-thumping on the part of the state and awkward expressions by the media executives after reportedly conceding to ludicrous conditions.
Such is the predicament in which the independent media in Uganda found itself.