Kampala, 14th/April/2011; Eight journalists have been attacked and injured in different parts of the country as they covered the proceedings of the second day of the walk-to-work campaign in which politicians and the civil society are protesting high fuel and other commodities.
- In Kampala, WBS TV cameraman Francis Mukasa was beaten at Makindye Ssabagabo court while covering protests following the arrest the Kampala mayor elect Ssalongo Erias Lukwago. Mukasa suffocated after police flashed tear gas onto him. He was rushed to Nsambya hospital in severe condition.
- Ronald Muyinda a Radio one journalist was roughed up by military personnel at Wampeewo from where he was relaying live scenes of gun fire. Muyinda was properly identified as a journalist because he was in his radio station jacket. Men in military police attires charged at him and manhandled him. This resulted into breaking his pelvic and the left leg.
- Stuart Iga of the Red pepper got mixed up in the stampede and in the process he sustained injuries on the arms, ribs and right jaw as he struggled to protect his still camera.
- Yunusu Ntale, a journalist with Central Broadcasting Service (CBS FM) sustained a big cut on his left arm after hit by a teargas canister. He was covering protests at Kasubi, a Kampala suburb at around 1pm.
- In Masaka district, the UPDF and the police applied violent means of calming the protesters. In the process, four journalists became victims. Ali Mabule a journalist with the New Vision was beaten up by a UPDF soldier as he tried to take a photograph of a UPDF soldier beating up a protestor near New Vision offices in Masaka.
- Isa Aliga an NTV Masaka correspondent was clobbered and his video camera confiscated by UPDF soldiers. In the process Aliga sustained cuts on his left eye and arm.
- Norman Kabugu a journalist with a daily tabloid Kamunye was beaten by UPDF soldiers for taking photographs of a fellow journalist Ali Mabule being beaten by UPDF. The UPDF also confiscated his camera.
- Dismus Buregyeya a New Vision journalist also received beatings and camera confiscated by the UPDF during the same protests.
“Most victim journalists we have talked to indicate that they were properly addressed with stations’ marked jackets and identifications. There was no way the military could have mistakenly identified these journalists. Therefore, these were organized crimes to stop journalists from documenting brutal attacks against protestors” said HRNJ-Uganda Board Chairman Robert Ssempala
HRNJ-Uganda is investigating reports that the Broadcasting Council on 14th/4/2011 was secretly issuing directives to media houses to stop live broadcasts of protests as well as video clips of Dr. Kiiza Besigye whose figure was allegedly shot. Dr. Besigye is a leader of the opposition party Forum for Democratic Change.
To this effect, HRNJ-Uganda states that;
- The UPDF returns all the confiscated tools to their respective owners with immediate effect.
- We are dragging individuals commanders to court for these violations, amongst them are Col. David Muhoozi the commandant of Armored Brigade in Masaka and the military police commandant among others.
- We implore the security forces to exhibit professionalism and restraint in such situations in protecting the 4th estate of gov’t- the media.
- Call upon Ugandan journalists to remain solid and united in championing the cause for a free media in Uganda at all times.
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