Friday, August 20, 2010

Court blocks media from writing about police investigation into the July11th bomb blasts

Kampala, 20th/08/2010; Any journalist operating in Uganda and writes about police investigation into July 11th bomb blasts risks to be charged with terrorism according to court order.

The court order released on Monday the 16th/08/2010 by Nakawa chief magistrate’s court issues an injunction doth against all print and (broadcast) media house operating in Uganda retraining them from publishing information and or police investigation relating to July 11th terrorism case pending before the same court.
The Anti-Terrorism Act, 2002 states that any person who establishes, runs or supports any institution for promoting terrorism, publishing and disseminating news or materials that promote terrorism is also liable to suffer death upon conviction.

The injunction has come at a time when there’s power struggle between the police force and the army over who should do investigation. Last week, the army paraded terrorist suspects before the media while the police boss Gen. Kale Kayihura held a parallel press conference at the same time at the government’s media center.

Sources say, in the ex-party miscellaneous application lodged before court on Monday the 16th/08/2010 officials at police argued that media reports about the ongoing investigation into July/11th bomb blasts facilitate other suspects at large to disappear.

Human Rights Network for Journalist-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) expresses its disappointment over the way the government has criminalized the work of the media and denies the public the right to know the outcome of the investigations. “Uganda has had a number of commissions of inquiries and none has been made public. Government should be accountable to its people and the media should be allowed to operate freely” HRNJ-Uganda Programmes Coordinator Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala said.

Since the anti-terrorism came into force, no journalist has ever been charged with terrorism although there’s Mega fm journalist Patrick Otim who is on remand at Luzira prison on charges of treason.

HRNJ-Uganda calls on government to withdraw the injunction as part of promoting an open and accountable government.

For more information contact;

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Kivebulaya Road, Mengo- Bulange, Kampala Opp. St. Marcelino Preparatory School
Tel: +256-414-667627 / +256-701-810079

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