Parliament Issues Fresh Summons For Editors

Parliament Issues Fresh Summons For Editors

By Serestino Tusingwire

The Rules, Discipline and Privileges Committee of Parliament has issued fresh summons to editors of various media houses to answer queries of alleged ‘unbalanced reporting’ on the legislature.

Editors from Uganda Radio Network, The Observer, Daily Monitor and Red Pepper have been summoned to appear before the committee on October 18 for grilling.

“In accordance with article 90 of the constitution of the Republic of Uganda and rule 163 (1) of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament of Uganda…the matter of unbalanced reporting by the media and broadcast was referred to the committee of Rules, Privileges and Discipline,” the letter reads.

“The committee of Rules, Privileges and Discipline hereby summons you to appear on Tuesday October 18, 2016. You will be expected to clarify on your publications about parliament.” Reads the letter signed by committee chairperson Clement Ogalo Obote, dated October 10, 2016.

This comes a few weeks after these media houses shunned the first one summons and this left legislators on this committee so angry and vowed to follow the matter up.

URN and Red Pepper, said they had not received summons to the committee while The Observer questioned the jurisdiction of the committee saying it did not have a mandate to summon editors to appear before it to clarify matters falling within their editorial discretion.

The summonses were prompted by complaints from members of parliament, irked by media coverage of lavish expenses on the legislators.

Notable among the issues was the Shs150m car grant, a planned expenditure of Shs68m as burial expenses for each legislator, and the trips to the Ugandan North American Association (UNAA) conventions in Boston, Massachusetts and Los Angeles California.