[Editorial] Ethically, VOA should not be giving voice to terror convicts

We had got used to seeing some of the international news organizations giving a platform to Genocide deniers, especially around the time we commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

We had got used to seeing some of the international news organizations giving a platform to Genocide deniers, especially around the time we commemorate the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi.

It is a cycle that repeats itself year in year out and it will likely not stop soon unless those media houses clean up their stables, again, highly unlikely, so we have come to live with it.

But this time, Voice of America (VOA) has taken the crown of cynicism to another level by attempting to sanitise a fugitive domestic terror convict.

Cassien Ntamuhanga was tried and convicted in 2015 and then sentenced to 25 years in prison for having been part of a terror group behind a spate of grenade attacks. He broke out from Mpanga prison last October and has been on the run without a sign since then-that is until the VOA gave him a platform to brag of his escape.

If there is no law that prevents media houses from interviewing escaped convicts, even those accused of terror, does it mean that VOA journalists have no iota of ethical standards? Would it give escaped American convicts – even those accused of petty crimes – time on their airwaves?

The USA has committed itself to be at the vanguard of fighting terrorism but now one of its agencies is giving a convicted terrorist a pedestal on the international stage. How ironic!

It is disrespect to our judicial processes that should not just be swept under the carpet. It was not accidental but a carefully choreographed and premeditated move. It is now up to local media stakeholders, RURA in particular, to be strict with foreign broadcasters just as they do to local ones because there are no sacred cows.

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