Jinja, 12/March/2011; Two journalists have been reported injured in a peaceful demonstration organized by opposition political parties in Jinja town, Eastern Uganda.
David Lukakama, a reporter for Jinja-based radio Voice of Busoga and Hasfa Nakyanzi a reporter for Top Television were covering the violently dispersed demonstration.
Article 29 (d) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda states that “every person shall have the right to freedom to assemble and to demonstrate together with others peacefully and unarmed and to petition”
An eyewitness told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that by the time anti-riot police started firing tear gas from behind the demonstrators most journalists were caught up in the area which was hit most by tear-gas canisters.
“A tear gas canister hit me and I fell down sustaining a big cut on my mouth. I lost a teeth and another one got disfigured” Nakyanzi said. Her toe got a fracture.
Nakyanzi was taken to Jinja referral hospital where she received first aid treatment before being transferred to Kadic clinic in Kampala where her mouth was stitched and other necessary treatment.
Journalists who were at the scene told HRNJ-Uganda that anti-riot police was targeting television camera persons and photojournalists who were in front of the demonstrators but the commandant who is the Jinja District Police commander Jonathan Musinguzi did nothing to the affected journalists.
“Cases of violence against journalists in this period seem to be organized to target frontline Journalists. Such moves are intended to scare them off from their messenger work. The commandant of the day, therefore, should be held responsible for abusing the rights of Journalists” Said HRNJ-Uganda Board Chairman Robert Ssempala
When HRNJ-Uganda contacted the DPC Jinja, Jonathan Musinguzi to give an account of how the Journalists were targeted and abused, he denied targeting journalists saying they are his friends.
HRNJ-Uganda condemns such acts of violence against journalists in the strongest term possible and challenges the police leadership to investigate Jinja DPC Jonathan Musinguzi and take punitive measures to punish him.
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