Uganda - Articles
Journalists ask questions. That’s their job. But their questions should never have to be about whether they can safely report on a matter in the public interest, or whether they will make it out of an election period alive.
Following months of attacks on journalists, the head of the Ugandan police force has created a press unit that will receive and investigate complaints of press freedom violations, report the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), ARTICLE 19 and Freedom House.
Charles Ingabire, the Rwandan exiled editor of the online publication "Inyenyeri", was shot dead by one or more unknown gunmen in a vehicle at a bar in Kampala, Uganda on 30 November, report the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) and other IFEX members. As "Inyeyeri" is highly critical of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, it is believed the early morning shooting - which killed Ingabire instantly - was carried out as a punishment for Ingabire's writings.
At least 10 journalists were attacked by soldiers last week in Uganda while covering the return of opposition leader Kizza Besigye to Uganda. Besigye had arrived from Kenya, where he was treated for injuries received when security forces violently dispersed an opposition demonstration in Kampala last month, say Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). It's just the latest example of the government's hostility to the press as walk-to-work protests continue over spiralling fuel and food prices, report Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda (HRJ-Uganda), CPJ and RSF.
The leader of Uganda's main opposition party has been charged with riotous behaviour and inciting violence while at least eight journalists have reported being injured during a new wave of protests over rising fuel and food prices, say Human Rights Network Uganda (HRJ-Uganda) and news reports.
Ugandan journalists preparing to cover presidential elections on 18 February have been threatened and assaulted, while opposition parties have been denied access to the media. Amid the political tensions and security concerns, 34 IFEX members are calling on the Ugandan President to immediately investigate all attacks on journalists and urge media houses to provide equal opportunities to all election candidates.
A leading gay rights activist whose photo was printed on the front page of a Ugandan newspaper that called for homosexuals to be hanged was bludgeoned to death at his home near Kampala last week, report Human Rights Watch and ARTICLE 19.
Last month in Uganda, Top Radio reporter Paul Kiggundu was brutally attacked and killed by a mob while working on a story. Three days later, Radio Prime journalist Dickson Ssentongo was beaten to death on his way to work. Unless media violence stops and journalists are allowed to do their work freely, next year's general elections will not be free and fair, warn 28 IFEX members in a joint letter that will be used to lobby the candidates.
An angry gang of motorcycle taxi drivers beat to death journalist Paul Kiggundu on 10 September when they discovered he was filming them demolish another driver's house, report the Human Rights Journalist Network - Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF). In a separate incident on 13 September, a radio journalist on his way to work was snatched off the road and beaten to death, reports HRNJ-Uganda.
Five Ugandan judges ruled in favour of press freedom on 25 August by declaring the country's criminal sedition offense unconstitutional, report the Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). But the government continues to threaten journalists with other legal actions.
A Ugandan journalist has been accused of sedition after writing two articles that speculated whether the Ugandan government was involved in July bomb attacks in Kampala, report the Human Rights Network of Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The sedition law is routinely used against dissident journalists. More than a dozen Ugandan journalists are currently being prosecuted under the law.
Several journalists were beaten and shot at as they faced the fury of authorities and demonstrators in clashes at the site of Ugandan royal tombs destroyed in an arson attack last week, reports the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). Three people were killed. Journalists are also under threat from the state as it attempts to muzzle the media and target critical journalists with repressive amendments to the press law, reports the International Press Institute (IPI) and Freedom House.
The Ugandan parliament has passed a bill that protects individuals who disclose information on corruption or law-breaking in government or private bodies, reports ARTICLE 19. But Ugandan journalists are fighting for the right to do their jobs as press freedom violations escalated in the country in 2009 with countless radio stations shut down, say local rights groups.
A spasm of violence shook Uganda last week in a power struggle between the government and the Buganda kingdom. State-run Uganda Broadcasting Council shut down radio stations on 11 September, ordering a halt to political debate and commentary on clashes in the capital, Kampala, according to the Media Institute (MI), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and other IFEX members.
As tensions build in the lead-up to the 2011 general elections in Uganda, so do criminal charges and prosecutions against journalists, say the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and local rights groups. Four journalists from the "Monitor", Uganda's largest independent paper, are facing criminal prosecutions, while three other independent journalists have been accused of sedition, reports CPJ.
A radio producer in Uganda was raped and killed by unidentified assailants, report Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA).
The Uganda Broadcasting Council (UBC) has suspended a popular Capital FM radio presenter for hosting gay activists who used "foul language" on air, effectively silencing a renewed debate on gay and lesbian rights, reports Kenya-based IFEX member the Media Institute.
Ugandan authorities have closed a local private radio station, K-FM, and charged a talk show host with sedition after he alleged that the recent death of former Sudanese Vice President John Garang was caused by the "incompetence" of the Ugandan government, report the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).
In a case that could have important implications for free expression in other countries, Uganda's Supreme Court has ruled that journalists in the country can no longer be charged with the offence of publishing false news, report ARTICLE 19, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (Reporters sans frontières, RSF).
The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, a Ugandan non-governmental organisation, is seeking submissions for an upcoming issue of its human rights journal "The Defender," focusing on freedom of expression and human rights.