Masaka, 12th/March/2011; Mutesa I Royal University students who have been demonstrating over alleged incompetence of university administrators and poor hygiene have assaulted two journalists.
Mutesa I Royal University is owned by Buganda Kingdom, the largest ethnic group in Uganda based in central region.
Brian Luwaga, a correspondent with Kamunye news paper and Edward Bindhe, a stringer with Uganda Radio Network one of the Uganda’s news agency were invited by the University guild president Francis Kayiira on 11th/March/2011 to cover students’ demonstration.
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) has learnt that before the assault of these journalists, the students had earlier locked an official from the kingdom headquarters in a pit latrine.
An eyewitness said journalists were rounded up inside the university premises while conducting interviews with some students, beaten-up and their tools of trade were seized and damaged.
“I was interviewing students who stormed out of a negotiation meeting chaired by the deputy premier of Buganda Kingdom Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Ssendaula and rounded-up by rowdy students. They demanded for my identification and immediately grabbed my recorder and my laptop that fell down and got damaged” said Edward Bindhe.
Bindhe said he was beaten-up and called Luwaga to rescue him who was subsequently roughed up by students.
“I was assaulted for taking students’ photos who were harassing Bindhe. Students who attacked me from behind seized my camera and all photos were deleted. I was assaulted for some time until anti-riot police showed up.
“The safety and security of journalists in Uganda has been our major concern even before February 2011 general elections. We have recorded the highest cases of violence against journalists in the past one year including murder. Our worry is that even members of the public who are supposed to protect journalists are now enemies” said HRNJ-Uganda Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala.
HRNJ-Uganda reminds all journalists to measure their security before deciding to go for a story however, we challenge police to investigate and bring all rowdy students to justice.
The matter was reported to police and a general inquiry file has been opened at Masaka police station.
For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Kivebulaya Road – Mengo Kampala Opp. St. Marcelino Pre. School
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala
Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627