Tuesday, September 2, 2014

HRNJ-Uganda alert, journalist jailed by police over news coverage


Kasangaati, 02nd/September/2014; Kasangati Chief Magistrate’ court has remanded a Vision Group journalist, Adrian Bwanika Bbaale to prison upto 23rd/September/2014, on allegations of ‘Disobedience of lawful orders’ by a police officer. Bwanika denied the charges.

Prosecution led by one only identified as Rachael alleges that Bwanika disobeyed lawful orders of a police officer on duty, Detective Assistant Yaye Paul at Kasangaati police station in Wakiso district. “Investigations are complete. I pray that we fix a date for hearing.” Racheal told court.

Bwanika who works for the government owned Vision Group’ Bukedde television was arrested Tuesday morning at Kasangaati police station as he covered a story of the arrest of a land dealer, popularly known as Hajji who the complainant, Ocheba Apollo accused of defrauding him of his land. Hajji was released immediately after his arrest under unclear circumstances.

Bwanika told HRNJ-Uganda that he was inhumanely arrested and his video camera confiscated, “I was assigned by my News Editor to cover the story. I came together with the complainant to the police, so I covered the arrest, but was surprised when a police officer confronted me after he had spoken to the arrested suspect, whom I believe masterminded my arrest. I was brutally arrested by five police officers, my video camera confiscated and confined in a police cell with a man who maimed his brother to death a day ago. I introduced myself as a journalist but the officer said he did not care if I was a journalist.” He told HRNJ-Uganda at Kasangaati police station.

Court presided over by Magistrate Okoth Loo granted Bwanika a cash bail of UGSHS100,000/= (USD40), which he in turn failed to pay because it was too late to pay in the bank which had since closed. The HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala and journalists Bambalazaabwe and Mutebi Sulaiman stood surety for Bwanika at a noncash bond of UGSHs1,000,000/= (USD250) each.

“HRNJ-Uganda is dismayed by this irregular act of the police at Kasangaati police station for charging the journalist with this tramped up charge, and also delayed to present him to court until it was too late for him to pay for his cash bail. The police should desist from being influenced to arrest and charge journalists under such circumstances. HRNJ-Uganda calls on the police to protect journalists and ensure their safety in the course of work,” Said the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala.



For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)

Plot 18, Block 12 Stensera Road Kayanja Triangle Zone
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala. Tel:
+256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627
E-mail:
news@hrnjuganda.org / humanrajournalists@yahoo.co.uk / Website: www.hrnjuganda.org; BLOG: http://hrnjuganda.blogpost.com

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

HRNJ-Uganda alert, legislator drags journalist to police over a bribery story



Kampala, 27th/August/2014; a Parliamentary reporter for Voice of Lango radio in Northern Uganda and Chimps Reports, an online publication, Dickens Okello has been quizzed by the police for about an hour over an alleged defamation case filed by the Aruu County Member of Parliament, Odonga Otto arising from a Facebook post. 

On August 11th,2014, Dickens posted on his facebook page what Otto says implicated him as a beneficiary of an alleged financial help extended by the president to Members of Parliament to help them settle their outstanding debts. “2 weeks ago, a friend notified me that my bro Odonga Otto was seen twice in room 13 Boman house (MP Kiwanda’s office) together with Eastern Youth MP Peter Ogwang. I rushed there and found the trio.  When it happened three times I said to myself that my bro was defecting to NRM (Ruling party) but my simple follow up realized nothing near to that. Three more opposition members visited the same office according to my sources. Days later, Wafula Oguttu (Leader of Opposition) addressed the press saying 18 of his members are alleged to have picked some monies. Is room 13 the magic code???...” read the post.

In response, Otto described the post as foolish. “Foolish comment, how I wish u knew what am going thru financially Dickens Okello Honetstraw. I will request sergeant at arms and commission to get you out of Parliament fake journalist. And this time I will sue for defamation you and all those on fb being casual with people’s life. One week, expect court papers” read the Member of Parliament’s response.

Dickens this afternoon recorded a statement before Micheal Makhoha, the OC CID Parliament, where he denied the allegations. Makhoha told HRNJ-Uganda that investigations are still ongoing.
Dickens told HRNJ-Uganda that Otto threatened him with violence. In 2012, Otto was reported to have drawn his gun at Stanley Ndawula, a Red Pepper journalist over what he termed as a controversial story against him.
We implore the Speaker of Parliam
ent and the Police to ensure and guarantee the safety and security of journalists operating within the precincts of the August House, said Robert Ssempala, the National Coordinator, HRNJ-Uganda.



For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)

Plot 18, Block 12 Stensera Road Kayanja Triangle Zone
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala. Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627
E-mail: news@hrnjuganda.org / humanrajournalists@yahoo.co.uk / Website: www.hrnjuganda.org; BLOG: http://hrnjuganda.blogpost.com