Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ugandan Government Non-Compliant To Freedom of Expression Recommendations

Kampala, 21st /August/2012; one year after Uganda was reviewed in October 2011, the facts on the ground show glaring non-compliance to the implementation of freedom of expression and information (FOE-I) recommendations.
According to an Annual Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Report on the FOE-I released by Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda), the period from October 2011 to July 2012 has witnessed over 60 journalists being attacked and some summoned for questioning by various state agencies, while many are facing trumped up charges in various courts of law – despite of the fact that the Human Rights Council recommended the dropping of all such cases.

While releasing the report in Kampala, the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator Wokulira Ssebaggala decried the situation where the Uganda Police Force topped the list of perpetrators of the freedom of expression and media rights. The police force was implicated in over 50% of the cases. The police were followed by state house operatives, faith based organizations and unfortunately the Judiciary which is supposed to be the custodian of justice.

 “Much as we applaud the State for the concession made during the actual review and at the adoption proceedings on 16th March 2012, we are greatly concerned that the UPR has not fully achieved its objectives especially in Uganda, as the situation of FOE and journalists’ wellbeing is continuously deteriorating” said Wokulira.

He said that the few government’s achievements in protecting and promoting FOE-I are faced with erosion as the state holds onto the Legislature for passing draconian laws that affect or threaten the basic human rights like; The proposed Public Management Bill, The NGO (Amendment) Bill, The Press and Journalists Act and the proposed bill (2010), The Regulations of Interception of Communications Act, The Computer Misuse Act, The Anti-Terrorism Act and The Police Act, among others.

HRNJ-Uganda called upon the State to comply with the recommendations by dropping all charges against media practitioners, putting in place measures to facilitate the visit to Uganda of the UN special Rapporteur on FOE, end the culture of impunity by reprimanding errant police and security officers who continuously orchestrate attacks against journalists and put in place urgent measures to safeguard the fundamental freedoms of expression, association and assembly.HRNJ-Uganda committed to engage with this new UN mechanism to ensure that the freedom of expression and information are better respected, protected and promoted in Uganda.

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
 E-mail: news@hrnjuganda.org ,humanrajournalists@yahoo.co.uk
 Website: www.hrnjuganda.org ,BLOG: http://hrnjuganda.blogpost.com

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Court Orders Police To Amend Charge Sheet To Prosecute Journalist Attackers.

Wakiso, 14th /Aug/2012; Court in Entebbe has ordered the police to amend the charge sheet so as to commence with  the prosecution of one Ddungu Elias who is accused of assaulting a Vision Group journalist Rebecca Nakame.
This followed a prayer  to court by the Resident State Attorney, Eunice Mbaine that the charge sheet be amended so that court proceeds with the trial of Ddungu Elias since the police have not arrested Katongole Issa and Mutagubya Jamil who are jointly charged with Ddungu.
Court ordered for the arrest of Katongole and Mutagubya last month but efforts to trace them have proved futile since they have reportedly abandoned their workplace in Lweza village in Wakiso district.
Prosecution alleges that on 20th/April/2012, the trio, at Bweya village, Ssissa sub-county in Wakiso district assaulted Nakame occasioning actual bodily harm contrary to section 236 of The Penal Code Act and destroyed her property –a video camera which they also confiscated.
Nakame was attacked by a mob on the orders of one Hakaya Luswa a special police constable attached to Kajjansi police station. She had been invited to cover a news story about a family land wrangle, but was attacked by some family members before she started filming the story. Luswa was however excluded from the case file for unknown reasons. He is a police officer attached to Kajjansi Police Station.
The case was adjourned to 13th September 2012 for the trial of Ddungu.
 Though court has ordered for the amendment of the charge sheet, the warrant of arrest should remain open so that the police can arrest katongole and Mutagubya any time to produce them in court to plead to the charges.

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
 E-mail: news@hrnjuganda.org, humanrajournalists@yahoo.co.uk
 Website: Www.hrnjuganda.org, BLOG: http://hrnjuganda.blogpost.com

Monday, August 13, 2012

OC CID and Investigating Officer Testify In Kalangala Defamation Case

Kalangala, 13th/August/2012;The hearing of a case in which Ronald Ssembuusi, a Central Broadcasting Service (CBS) journalist was accused of defamation by the former L.C V of Kalangala district continued on the 9th of August  in Kalangala with the prosecution producing two more witnesses.

The OC CID for Kalangala District, Mr. Ssenabulya Joseph adduced evidence as to the fact that the accused approached him on the 16th day of November 2011 to inquire about the theft of the solar panels but he did not have the file and asked Ssembuusi to return later that day for information regarding the matter. Ssenabulya however denied any knowledge of the involvement of Daniel Kikola, the complainant in the theft. During cross-examination, the OC CID told court that he wrote to Uganda Communications Centre, a non-existent body, requesting them to avail a copy of the C.D containing the defamatory material. He also failed to clearly explain what he understood by the term defamation. 

Mr. Kweyamba Augustine, the Investigating Officer, also testified. He told court that he listened to the alleged defamatory news which was aired in Luganda, a language which he admitted not to clearly understand and found the news to be defamatory. The C.D was played in court and tendered in for identification awaiting the officer who collected it from Uganda Communications Commission to tender it in as an exhibit.

Prosecution has two more witnesses to close their case. The matter was adjourned to end of September 2012, after the special High Court criminal session to be held at the Kalangala Magistrates Court.
Kikoola dragged Ssembuusi -a correspondent for the Buganda Kingdom’ private radio for Kalangala district in the Central Uganda region to court accusing him of defamation  when he reported a story which aired on CBS radio on 17th/November/2011 that he was being investigated for alleged involvement in the disappearance of solar panels.He was charged with criminal defamation on 21st/March/2012 and released on Shillings 1 million non-cash bail.
 Over 80 solar panels were donated by the African Development Bank through the ministry of water and environment in 2010 to help circulate clean and safe water in Kalangala Town Council. Unfortunately, 40 (forty) of them went missing under unclear circumstances. Since November 2011, police have recovered about 21 of them.

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
 E-mail: news@hrnjuganda.org, humanrajournalists@yahoo.co.uk
 Website: www.hrnjuganda.org, BLOG: http://hrnjuganda.blogpost.com

Friday, August 10, 2012

Nation Media Trashes Claims to Sack Journalists under Duress

Kampala, 10th/August/2012, The Daily Monitor publications has trashed claims that it’s under pressure from the Ugandan government to sack four of its employees.A tweet claiming to be The Daily Monitor official Twitter account had reported that Daily Monitor newspaper and K-FM radio were to relieve four journalists of their duties on the request of the Ugandan government. 

When contacted, Daily Monitor’s Managing Editor Daniel Kalinaki told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that the reports were baseless and attributed them to the work of a hacker.

“That’s a fake hacker and we have reported the matter to the twitter management. The news is false and not even worthy our attention. In case we are to fire or hire, it’s on the basis of performance and not government request.” said Kalinaki.

When contacted by HRNJ-Uganda, the K-FM head of Programming, Richard Linga equally dismissed the reports as a falsehood. “I am not aware of that neither has it come to my attention. I can’t even comment on something I am not aware of, but I know it is not true.” he said.The Ugandan President has severally referred to The Monitor as an enemy paper.

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
 E-mail: news@hrnjuganda.org,humanrajournalists@yahoo.co.uk
 Website: www.hrnjuganda.org, BLOG: http://hrnjuganda.blogpost.com