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Continous media attacks in Uganda


By Benjamin Mwibo: The Human Rights Network for Journalist (HRNJ) in Uganda, a body that defends rights of journalists has stepped up concern with help of it’s legal officers against continued impunity for journalists.

On Thursday in kampala,  “between 1 January 2023 and 26 July 2023, HRNJ Uganda has so far registered 16 cases of assault, 9 confiscated gadgets, 2 threatening violence, 10 arrests, and 6 malicious damage to property against journalists, occasioned by the police, army and community members, tallying to 43 cases, ” said Robert Ssempala, the Executive Director HRNJ.

Meanwhile, HRNJ, has documented such attacks on journalists and most of them being physical assault, unlawful arrest and detention, malicious damage of property and others attached to threatening violence, parties involved are both State and non State actors, he added.

The most recent saga registered is on 20 July were journalists Waiswa Moses, Balikuddenbe Josephs, Katabala Charles Kamya and Ambabazi Nowamani had their phones confiscated at the Forum for Democratic Change ( FDC)  offices in Najanankumbi by suspected goons while they had gone to cover a presser organized by the party chairman, ambassador Wasawa Birigwa.

He revealed that they are very surprised about how the FDC, a party that entirely depends on media coverage has turned against its own by calling journalists to cover them, and then beat them up, also the leadership of the party has not demonstrated tangible resilience of addressing the matter.

According to Ssempala, “We always emphasize going to court, however, now that it is a party, which has come out and promised to ably handle,  we are giving FDC a space of one week to amicably settle the issue, reach out to the journalists, but should they fail the HRNJ is proceeding to court. “

In his remarks, singling journalists’ importance, as a media rights advocacy organization, HRNJ Uganda  emphasizes the very important role the media plays in enlightening the populace, but most emphatically holding leaders accountable through its critical watchdog role, Ssempala explained.

Despite this plausible role, many Ugandan Journalists have continued to face threats and physical attacks while executing their work as indicated in the findings,  while the most targeted journalists are those who cover stories related to human rights violations, corruption, demonstrations, crimes and political related cases.

This statement is originally published on the Daily Press Uganda website on 28 July 2023.

Read full statement here:

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