By HRNJ-News Team
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is concerned about the increasing incidents of lawlessness that target journalists who are at work.
HRNJ-Uganda a network for human Rights journalists, which defends and promotes the right to freedom of expression and the media, has noted that such targets are not only horribly carried out by security agencies whose powers are not statutory based and mandates not known but also police whose responsibility to keep law and order.
While anti riot police and stich-wielding men commonly known as Kibooko Squad in an attempt to stop opposition political party under Inter-Party Coalition from holding a rally at Clock Tower on Wednesday 9th/June/2010, police arrested and battered the Daily Monitor photo journalist Yusuf Muziransa for taking photographs of police brutal attacks on the opposition political parties supporters.
Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president general Dr. Kiiza Besigye and other leaders of the Inter-party Coalition who were demanding for disbandment of the Electoral Commission were alo beaten up by the same group.
Mr. Muziransa who had covered the beatings for around thirty minutes was confronted by a police officer identified as Mundu and demanded that he should vacate the venue. "Its unfortunate that police and security apparatus have taken upon themselves to regulate which stories should be covered by the media. Such acts are iullegal and must stopped forthwith" HRNJ-Uganda Programmes Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala demanded.
"I identified myself to police as a photojournalist with the Daily Monitor but they insisted that I should leave and hit my camera and it fell down. An officer Mundu kicked and slapped me. As a result I fell down which bothered colleagues at the scene and they intervened" Muziransa narrated the ordeal.
well as it's the duty of police to guide demonstrations, police must understand that no institution or individual has a right to control to control news scenes or movements of journalists. Therefore, such acts of assaulting a journalist and damaging his tools of trade are unjustifiable in a democratic country.
We demand for investigation into Kibooko (stick-wielding men) squad how it came into force, under whose command and te level immunity to harass innocent people under the watchful eyes of police.
HRNJ-Uganda ask the Inspector general of police through professional standards unit to investigate the officer called Mundu and be punished failure police will be held accountable for promoting lawlessness in the country.
We further condemn such attacks against journalists and call on police to serve the people of Uganda not the interests of the state.
For more Information Contact;
Humna Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Plot 16 clement Hill Road Nakasero
P.o.Box. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala
Tel: +256-414-667627 / +256-701-810079