The management of Top Radio 89.6 FM and Top TV– a Christian faith based media house has banned opposition politicians and callers critical of government. The media house is owned by Pastor Jackson Ssenyonga of Christian Life Ministries in Bwaise
In the internal memo dated 1st November 2017, management wrote ‘ ‘ This memo serves all presenters both on Top radio and Top TV that hosting of opposition politicians and other voices critical of government has been banned.’’
‘ ‘ No one is allowed to host guests and politicans critical of government’’ management warned.
Presenters are also not allowed to discuss negative political sentiments in all their shows and allowing callers who attack government.
For instance, panelists on Negwozadde program hosted [by Dustan Busulwa, acting Station manager]-political show that were perceived to be critical of the government have been replaced with those that toe the government line.
‘ ‘ Anyone found culpable after this warning shall face penalties and automatic dismissal ‘’
The memo ends by reminding program directors, presenters and producers to enforce the directive.
According to the Observer the directive was enforced after back-and-forth meetings between the management at Top Radio with Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) officials. This comes against a backdrop of increased violations of media freedoms and crackdowns on media and journalists perceived to be critical of government. UCC has over the last months, directed various media houses to suspend programs or dismiss presenters/hosts considered critical of government.
Previously, Pearl FM had its presenter Sulaiman Kasule suspended. He was presenting a current affairs show called Inside Story. Amama Mbabazi’s Kinkizi FM had a presenter suspended too.
The Top Radio memo does not mention of government officials who attack or abuse opposition figures, and other leaders in the country. The two stations host Presidential advisor on the media Mr. Tamale Mirundi who attacks opposition figures, sometimes abuses them.
In 2015, URA switched off Bwaise-based Top Radio and Top Television stations over tax arrears amounting to sh200m. Top Radio and Top TV employees are reportedly one of least paid in the industry.