By Andrew Irumba
Pidson Kareire, the editor of Drone Media, an online newspaper, is the happiest man today after the Chief Magistrates Court in Makindye dismissed a defamation case against him filed by troubled Labour Export company Middle East Consultants.
His Worship Okumu Muwonge dismissed the case on Wednesday morning after prosecution failed to produce enough evidence to pin him in the defamation case.
Kareire, a member of Uganda Journalists Union (UJU), said he is happy that at long last justice has prevailed.
He expressed appreciation to the Brussels based International Federation of Journalists ( IFJ) which extended financial support to cover legal costs.
Uganda Journalists Union which is affiliated to the IFJ, ensured Kareire’s case came to its logical conclusion without delaying justice, since justice delayed is justice denied.
Kareire was arrested in June and charged with criminal libel and offensive communication contrary to sections 179 and 25 of the Penal Code Act and Computer Misuse act respectively.
It was alleged that he had published stories on the Drone Media Website to the effect that Middle East Consultants extorts money from job seekers in exchange for jobs which are never availed.
Middle East Consultants Limited dragged Kareire to court on private prosecution, accusing him of criminal defamation and offensive communication.
He denied the charges and was released on Shs10 million non-cash bail and he has since then been having sleepless nights until this day when court dismissed the charges with legal costs to be borne by Middle East Consultants.
However, it should be noted that the law on criminal defamation is being challenged by Human Rights Network For Journalists (HRNJ-Uganda) through the late Ronald Ssembuusi’s case at the East Court of Justice in Arusha Tanzania, arguing that the continued use by the Uganda government of section 179 of the Penal Code Act of Uganda which provides for the offence of criminal defamation is a violation of the fundamental and operating principles of the East African Community Treaty.
Twenty organizations also applied to be joined as amici curiae (friends of court) although a hearing date is yet to be communicated.