REGIONS:

SUBSCRIBE:

Sign up for weekly updates

Eight journalists injured in "walk-to-work" protest

(HRNJ-Uganda/IFEX) - Kampala, 14 April 2011 - Eight journalists have been attacked and injured in different parts of the country as they covered various actions during the second day of a "walk-to-work" campaign in which politicians and civil society members are protesting the high cost of fuel and other commodities.

In Kampala, WBS TV cameraman Francis Mukasa was beaten at Makindye Ssabagabo court while covering protests following the arrest of the Kampala mayor-elect Ssalongo Erias Lukwago. Mukasa had difficulty breathing after police sprayed him with tear gas. He was rushed to Nsambya hospital in serious condition.

Ronald Muyinda, a Radio One journalist, was seriously roughed up by military personnel at Wampeewo, from where he was relaying live scenes of gunfire. Muyinda was properly identified as a journalist because he was in his radio station jacket. Men in military police attire charged at him and beat him severely, breaking his pelvis and left leg.

Stuart Iga of "The Red Pepper" got mixed up in the stampede and in the process sustained injuries to his arms, ribs and right jaw as he struggled to protect his camera.

Yunusu Ntale, a journalist with Central Broadcasting Service (CBS FM), sustained a large cut on his left arm after being hit by a teargas canister. He was covering protests at Kasubi, a Kampala suburb, in the early afternoon.

In Masaka district, the Uganda People's Defence Force (UPDF - Uganda' armed forces) and the police used violence to calm the protesters. In the process, four journalists were targeted. Ali Mabule, a reporter with "The New Vision", was beaten by a UPDF soldier as he tried to take a photograph of another UPDF soldier beating up on a protestor near "The New Vision" offices in Masaka.

Isa Aliga, an NTV Masaka correspondent, was beaten and his video camera confiscated by UPDF soldiers. In the process Aliga sustained cuts on his left eye and arm.

Norman Kabugu, a journalist with the daily tabloid "Kamunye", was beaten by UPDF soldiers for taking photographs of fellow journalist Ali Mabule being attacked by UPDF officers. The UPDF also confiscated his camera.

Dismus Buregyeya, another "New Vision" journalist, also received beatings and had his camera confiscated by the UPDF during the same protests.

"Most victim journalists who spoke to HRNJ-Uganda indicated that they were properly dressed with station-marked jackets and identification and that there was no way the military could have mistaken them for protestors. The attacks therefore appear to have been organised to prevent journalists from documenting the brutal attacks on the protestors," said HRNJ-Uganda Board Chairman Robert Ssempala.

HRNJ-Uganda is investigating reports that the Broadcasting Council on 14 April secretly issued directives to media houses to stop live broadcasts of the protests as well as video clips of Dr. Kiiza Besigye, leader of the opposition party Forum for Democratic Change.

HRNJ-Uganda urges:

- The UPDF to return all confiscated equipment to their respective owners with immediate effect;
- Security forces to exhibit professionalism and restraint in protecting society's fourth estate, the media;
- Ugandan journalists to remain solid and united in championing the cause for a free media in Uganda at all times.

Latest Tweet:

The price for speaking out: @NABEELRAJAB sentenced to 5 years for tweeting in Bahrain https://t.co/ZM4jP8JXRQ… https://t.co/OyX9iNO4fo