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Television journalist survives mob attack

UPDATE: Court convicts journalist's attacker (HRNJ-Uganda, 24 October 2012)

(HRNJ-Uganda/IFEX) - Wakiso, 21 April 2012 - Rebecca Nakame, a reporter with the government owned Bukedde Television, was attacked by a mob on the orders of one Hakaya Luswa, a special police constable attached to Kajjansi police station. Her camera was damaged and confiscated.

The incident happened at Bweya village, Ssissa sub-county, in Wakiso district, where she had gone to cover a news story about a family land wrangle. She had not started filming when a family member saw her video camera in her bag and reported her presence. Luswa ordered her beating. She was mobbed by some family members for about 10 minutes, while others tried to save her, including the local council defense chief.

Nakame told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that she was kicked, slapped, pushed and pulled by the hair as she pleaded for mercy.

“When I opened my bag to pick up a call, the woman next to me saw a video camera inside and told others that there was a journalist in their midst. It is then that Luswa ordered that they beat me. Two men pounced on me and started the beating before they were joined by others. I pleaded for mercy but they wouldn't heed. I was kicked in the back, slapped, pushed and my hair pulled in an attack that lasted for about 10 minutes. I fell down as I struggled to stand and run away. I survived narrowly, thanks to the area secretary for defense and some other people, especially women, who rescued me,” Nakame told HRNJ-Uganda.

She sustained bruises and severe back pain. An assault and theft of property complaint was reported to Kajjansi police station.

“We commend Kajjansi police for the urgency they have accorded this matter, and we hope that thorough investigations will be carried out and the culprits will be brought to book. The manner in which the security officer handled the journalist was uncalled for since she was not told that the meeting in the courtyard was closed to the media. Hakaya was being accused of mishandling the family land, so that's why he turned away the journalist in such a crude way. This is a serious case in which HRNJ-Uganda will help the victim journalist get justice,” said HRNJ-Uganda Programme Coordinator Wokulira Ssebaggala.

MORE INFORMATION

Witnesses testify against Ugandan journalist's alleged attacker (HRNJ-Uganda, 24 September 2012)
Vision Group journalist drags attackers to court (HRNJ-Uganda, 4 June 2012)

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