10 December 2006

Uganda: Kamunye And Black Mamba Off the Streets

Kampala — The Media Council has banned the sale of newspapers with "pornographic content in public places." A notice from the council says the ban took effect on Thursday. Although the names of the affected papers are not cited in the notice, Police chief Kale Kayihura says that Kamunye and Black Mamba are the culprit publications.

Black Mamba is an English language tabloid, while Kamunye is a vernacular daily. Both papers are offshoots of the Red Pepper, a daily tabloid that pioneered hard porn in the Ugandan media but has since veered into politically sensational stories.

In a Friday interview with Sunday Monitor, Maj. Gen. Kayihura said: "I have been receiving so many complaints about Black Mamba and Kamunye newspapers; that they are selling pornographic content which can easily spoil our children."

The Media Council statement, which was issued by its Chairman, Fr. John Mary Waligo, reads: "Newspapers of such kind should only be sold from exclusive stores and clearly prohibited for sale to children below 18 years."

It further says: "The Media Council defines pornography as any information or publication or graphic or picture, photography or literature which depicts an unclothed or under clothed sexually arousing parts of the human body. Or depicts and describes or narrates sexual intercourse or any behaviour related to sexual stimulation or describes activities in a manner tending to stimulate erotic feelings."

The council said the action was being taken in pursuit of their statutory function to regulate and promote good ethical standards and discipline among journalists and to exercise disciplinary control over journalists, editors and publishers as per section 9 of the Press and Journalists Act 1995.

The statement was copied to the Inspector General of Police, the Third Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Information and National Guidance and the Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity.

Media Council secretary Paul Mukasa told Sunday Monitor on Friday that the remit of his organisation was to moot relevant by-laws and that the next step was for the concerned government departments to enforce them.

Maj. Gen. Kayihura said the police would definitely remove the papers off the streets. "We have to enforce this law in order to protect our children; this law is everywhere in the world -- like Europe and America where such magazines are sealed," he said.

Maj. Gen. Kayihura said all police departments would liaise with the Internal Security Organisation and ensure that the said publications are no more on the streets.

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