The Uganda Editors’ Guild strongly condemns the violence meted out today, Wednesday February 17, 2021, by military personnel attached to the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces against journalists covering former Presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, as he delivered a petition to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) offices in Kololo, Kampala.
Despite repeated appeals over time to security agencies, as well as law enforcement personnel, to respect the right of journalists to work freely and accord them protection, we continue to see blatant attacks against journalists.
According to witnesses, today’s attacks left 10 journalists injured. They include John Cliff Wamala, Geoffrey Twesigye and Irene Abalo of Nation Media Group, Shamim Nabakooza of Record TV, Henry Ssekankako, Timothy Murungi of New Vision, Rashida Nakaayi of Galaxy FM, Josephine Namakumbi, Joseph Sabiiti and Thomas Kitimbo of NBS TV.
Some of the journalists also had their equipment confiscated as the army and police sought to block people who had accompanied Hon. Kyagulanyi to deliver his petition. The actions of the security personnel are disappointing and unacceptable!
As we have noted before, we will continue to document collective attacks against journalists and the individual officers who carry them out and those with operational command. Attacks on journalists will not go unrecorded or unpunished. Impunity shall not be allowed to thrive.
We are concerned that the attacks on journalists in the country, is one of the continued sustained attacks on civil liberties including breaches to freedom of association prior and in the aftermath of the 2021 General elections, with the actions undoing all the efforts of constitutionalism and the rule of law that have been undertaken for many decades.
We are calling upon the security chiefs, particularly the Chief of Defence Forces Gen. David Muhoozi to rein in the men and officers under their command, to publicly condemn the attacks on journalists, and to order a transparent and independent investigation into the violence involving security agencies.
We will seek for legal advice on how to prosecute the breaches on journalism practice with a view of taking action soon. In the meantime, we advise all journalists to exercise caution and only cover events involving the security agencies if they have guarantees of their safety.
For more information, contact the Secretary, Sylvia Nankya on firstname.lastname@example.org