Uganda’s Covert Censorship

Letter from Kampala

May 22, 2012. Adriane Ohanesian / Reuters

In July 2015, Ronald (who asked not to disclose his real name), the host of a political and public affairs radio program in Uganda, invited perennial opposition candidate Kizza Besigye to his show to discuss yet another presidential bid against long-standing leader Yoweri Museveni. That summer, talk of Uganda’s upcoming February elections was beginning to make airwaves.

But when Besigye showed up at the studio, Ronald’s bosses rebuked him for the invitation. “I told them I didn’t know that I was supposed to seek permission to let him in the studios,” Ronald said. “And that’s when everything went wrong.”

According to Ronald, the station’s owners switched the station off for about half an hour so that he couldn’t go on the air and then suspended him for about a month for “insubordination.” He resumed his work, but not without constant reminders of where his loyalties

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