Friday, February 19, 2010



18th February, 2010
By Hillary Nsambu and Andante Okanya

THE Government wants CBS, the Buganda kingdom radio, to pay compensation for inciting the public to rise against lawful authority.

In a counter-claim, filed at the High Court on February 12, the Attorney General said CBS should pay the Government “aggravated damages for inconveniences causes as a result of (CBS’) unwarranted acts”. He did not state the amount.

He was responding to a court suit by CBS staff seeking damages from the Government for closing the radio station and depriving them of their livelihood.

The State said CBS “repeatedly allowed and or permitted its broadcasting licence to be used for mobilising and inciting the public to commit violence and to rebel against lawful authority”.

Referring to the September riots in several parts of Buganda, the Attorney General accused CBS of “sowing seeds of hatred and threatening social cohesion by promoting ethnic prejudice which culminated into lawlessness and eruption and escalation of violence”.

The violence, according to the Attorney General, resulted into disruption of business, the loss of lives and destruction of property.

He called the suit by the CBS employees “frivolous and vexatious”, adding that it should be dismissed with costs.

Defending the closure of CBS, the Attorney General said since September 2007, the radio had repeatedly violated the Electronic Media Act and other laws by airing inflammatory statements against the Government.

He noted that although there had been numerous complaints, the radio refused to comply with regulations.

“CBS has on many occasions admitted to being in breach of the standards but has not done much to ensure compliance by its staff.”

He defended the actions of the Broadcasting Council, saying it was carrying out its obligations to enforce standards which apply to all broadcasters.

On Wednesday, High Court judge Vincent Zehurikize adjourned the case to April 20, requesting the lawyers to try and find an amicable solution.