Court stops media coverage of slain police officer’s investigations

The late Assistant Inspector General of Police Andrew Felix Kaweesi Photo credit: AFP

Kampala, 27/April/2017, Court in Kampala has ordered journalists and media houses to refrain from publishing any news about the murder and investigations of the former Uganda Police Force Spokesperson, Assistant Inspector General of Police, Andrew Felix Kaweesi. The exparte interim order was granted by the High Court Civil Division Deputy Registrar, Joy Kabagye Bahinguza on April 21, 2017 in the presence of State Attorney, Geoffrey Madete.

An interim order doth issue restraining the respondent/defendant by themselves or through their authorized agents/servants/employees from publishing the contents or running any series on the investigations into the murder of AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi pending disposal of the main application…” the order reads in part.

Through the Attorney General, on 19th April, 2017, the police chief, Gen. Kale Kayihura swore an affidavit testifying that the continued coverage of Kaweesi’s murder investigations was “injurious to the investigations underway, national security and prejudicial to the workings of the security agencies of Uganda.”

The implicated online media outlets include The Investigator, Chimp Reports Media, The Ugandan, and the print and online versions of the Red Pepper Publications, along with their respective owners and the chief news editors, The proprietors named in this case include; Stanley Ndawula of The Investigator, Giles Muhame of Chimp Reports and Dickson Kagurusi of The Ugandan, along with their respective individual editors and editors in Chief.

Kaweesi was attacked on 17th March, 2017 and gunned down with his driver, Godfrey Mambewa and bodyguard Kenneth Erau, by unknown gunmen. The late Kaweesi was leaving his home in Kulambiro, a Kampala suburb.

According to the main application, which is due to be heard on 21st August, 2017 before Justice Stephen Musota, the defendants obtained confidential documents into the murder investigation and national security without clearance from government.

The action by the police to suffocate the media from covering the process and news of the investigations is unacceptable and will be challenged in the courts of law. If there are confidential documents and information that is being accessed by the media, we encourage the police to bridge such internal gaps rather than descending on the media to curtail its work. Last year, the government banned the coverage of political opposition’s ‘defiance campaign’ citing security concerns. The government should desist from using security to gag the media.” Said the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala

HRNJ-UG Admin

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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