Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has asked Parliament’s Finance Committee to investigate circumstances under which Ministry of Finance watched on as Vision Group headed by Robert Kabushenga (pictured) as CEO closed three regional newspapers despite Parliament passing a supplementary budget that hugely benefited the media empire during COVID-19 bad times.
The Speaker’s directive followed a motion fronted by David Abala (Ngora County) and Lilly Adong (Nwoya Woman MP) tabled during today’s plenary sitting, saying the closure of Etop (Teso Region), Rupiny and Orumuri (Western Region) has left a number of people unemployed and readers have been cut off from access to information on coronavirus.
“This is the time when the local people need to read issues of COVID-19 in their local languages. In these newspapers, the papers were submitting learning materials. We are going for the ‘scientific elections’ and most of the campaign materials will be issued through media,” Adong said.
She added: “People are also wondering why they left Bukedde and all other local languages have stopped. The people who were employed by sister newspapers have been kept out. Can the Minister explain why the Government company can go ahead to close all local languages?”
In his prayers to Parliament, Abala asked Government to fully support the immediate reopening and provide a stimulus package for them.
Peter Ogwang, State Minister for ICT informed Parliament that Vision Group, where Government owns 51% shares is managed by the Ministry of Finance under the Privatisation Unit and not the Ministry of ICT.
Speaker Kadaga sent the motion to Parliament’s Finance Committee for urgent perusal and gave the Committee one week within which to report back.
“The Committee is expected to handle the motion expeditiously taking into account information will be needed in the electoral cycle. We are going to write to the Ministry of Finance after we have given them money, they have still gone ahead to close these newspapers,” Kadaga said.