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in the media


 Police officers move to arrest journalists as the latter moved to petition the Inspector General of Police over brutality in Kampala on Monday. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

In Summary

  • Background. This comes after several journalists were beaten up by police on Monday in a peaceful march against assault by security agencies during the protests at Makerere University.
  • At Makerere University last week, police assaulted many journalists who were covering the student protests challenging the 15 per cent increment on tuition.


Civil society organisations (CSOs) have asked government to prosecute police officers who brutalised journalists.

Two CSOs, the Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) and the Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ), in separate statements, demanded that the rights and freedoms of journalists be restored by expeditiously carrying out an inquiry into the abuses meted out on them.

Ms Charity Ahimbisibwe, the head of communication and advocacy at CCEDU, asked the government to reaffirm its commitment to defend the rights of journalists.
“CCEDU demands that all police officers, who engage in acts of brutalising journalists, be subjected to the due-course of the law immediately. The State should not be seen to condone human rights abuses, when there is a legal regime to curtail abuses,” she said in a statement.

Ms Ahimbisibwe asked the authorities to enforce the recently enacted Human Rights Enforcement Act to ensure personal liability of police officers who violated the rights of Ugandans.

On March 31, President Museveni assented to the Human Rights Enforcement Act, 2019, which guarantees the entrenchment of human rights in the way the Uganda Police Force enforce law and order.

Mr Robert Ssempala, the executive director of HRNJ, said in a statement that the police on Monday arrested a number of journalists who were delivering a petition to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to protest the continued harassment by the force.

He said the leader of Uganda Parliamentary Press Association Mr Moses Mulondo, Mr Bashir Kazibwe, the president of Uganda Journalists Association; Abubaker Lubowa, Moses Bayola, Mohamad Ssendegeya, Siraje Kiberu, Alex Esagala and Isaac Ssemakadde, one of the journalist’s lawyers, were arrested while more than 20 others were teargased, assaulted and their clothes torn in a scuffle that lasted hours in the city centre.

The petition was eventually handed to senior police officers; Mr Asan Kasingye, Mr Abas Byakagaba and Mr Asuman Mugenyi, who represented the IGP.

At Makerere University last week, police assaulted many journalists who were covering the student protests challenging the 15 per cent increment on tuition.
“No action had been taken against the errant police officers hence the decision by the journalists’ leaders to petition the police force,” Mr Ssempala said.


5 months 1 day ago

By John Thawite, Job Namanya

Added 30th October 2019 09:06 PM

Ugandan journalists have been warned against sacrificing the country in the course of their professional work.

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Some of the journalists who attended the election reporting skills training

The call was made by the Mbarara Deputy Resident District commissioner, Emmy Katera, while opening a three-day Election reporting skills training for journalists in western Uganda at Acacia Hotel in Mbarara Municipality.

Katera urged the scribes to be patriotic to their country, noting that they are also Ugandans.

“Whenever you are writing, ask yourself if the information builds or destroys Uganda,” he stated.

He added that no matter how factual news may be, it should not jeopardise the country’s security and stability.

Furthermore, he cautioned them against bias and urged them to hear from all parties.

Katera also advised journalists to utilise various government programs to supplement their earnings from journalism work.

“As Ugandans, you should always get out of your comfort zones and apply for the existing government programs,” he said.

However, in the debate that later ensued, some journalists argued that accepting government support would be compromising their independence.

A veteran news journalist and lecturer at Makerere University, John Baptist Wasswa asked journalists to desist from being compromised by some news sources.

Wasswa also asked journalists to uphold professional practices like accuracy, balance and fairness, truthfulness among others.

He implored scribes to focus on research about the various stories they are going to cover so as to feed the audience with the most trusted news.

Wasswa asked media houses to offer an equal platform to all candidates to help the public in making informed decisions.

The need for gender balance in reporting was also emphasised in fair reporting.

“Whether paid for or not, election civic education is our mandate and we must offer it to our audience,” he added.

Moses Paul Sserwanga, a media trainer and communications consultant, asked journalists to formularise themselves with the electoral process to avoid lagging behind when the country expects them to lead in informing about the process.

5 months 1 day ago

Police officers drag members of UJA to the cells centre at CPS. 

By Editorial

Journalists have called for boycott of media coverage of police activities. Their umbrella Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) has also demanded that the Force’s command accounts for the brutality and individual officers implicated brought to face justice. This blackout should compel the police and soldiers to stop their unprovoked violence against defenceless journalists. The police and army violence is escalating.
For years now, the police and soldiers have made it routine to savagely beat up journalists. Standout cases include the brutal torture of WBS TV photojournalist Andrew Lwanga by the Old Kampala Divisional Police Commander Joram Mwesigye in 2015. Mr Lwanga’s only crime was covering a procession by an unemployed youth group to seek police permission to hold rallies in Kampala.
On the same day, Bukedde TV journalist Joseph Ssettimba, was lashed with an electric cable, had his trousers torn. Mr Ssettimba’s camera and that of Herbert Zziwa of Nation Media Group Uganda’s K-FM radio, were destroyed.
Similarly, Mr James Akena, a photojournalist with Reuters, was brutalised on August 20, 2018, as he covered protests against the torture and detention of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine.
As a result, Mr Akena has been disabled and confined to a wheelchair. In the latest instance, at least 20 journalists have been assaulted and injured in the course of their duty as they covered the Makerere University protests against increased tuition fees.
These violent acts by police and soldiers are targeted to maim journalists, destroy their tools of trade, including cameras, and intimidate them from getting out the brutal violence by armed forces against defenceless citizens.
This is why it should be now that we impress it on the police and soldiers that journalists have a right to practice their trade and it is not up to the police and soldiers to direct them. Also this is why UJA’s call for boycott or suspension of online, print and broadcast of any police activities is exactly right.
This suspension of media coverage of police activities should compel the security agencies to realise that media is critical in mediating law and order and security matters between them and citizens. Perhaps by this boycott, the police and soldiers will realise that journalists need to work unhindered, access sources and records, and visit scenes of events, including strikes. This is how journalists and the media play their roles, as public watchdogs facilitate outreach, and educate the public about daily events and issues and how they affect wananchi.
The Force should squarely face up to the eight points demanded by UJA to check the escalating brutality against journalists. The time is now for the police to undertake an irreversible commitment to protect the rights of journalists to practice their trade unfettered

5 months 1 day ago

By Joseph Kizza

Added 24th October 2019 08:42 AM

New Vision's Carol Natukunda wins the Journalist of the Year Award in the Population Media Awards 2019 in Kampala, with categories winners also awarded during the launch of the State of Uganda Population Report.

9.45am |   And the winners are . . .

New Vision's Carol Natukunda has won the Journalist of the Year award in the Population Media Awards 2019. Other journalists were also winners in different categories.

They were awarded during the launch of the State of Uganda Population Report Wednesday evening in Kampala.

In the picture immediately below are the winners, from left:

• Dianah Kibuuka of CBS (radio),

• Ronald Mugabe of New Vision (online)

• Carlton Scovia Nakamya of BBS TV (television)

• Carol Natukunda of New Vision (overall winner)

• Christopher Bendana of New Vision (print)

 ere Here


5 months 2 weeks ago

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