Kampala — African Centre for Media Excellence strongly condemns acts of violence against journalists who are covering the ongoing election campaigns..
Over the last two weeks, at least six journalists have been attacked, injured, and/or arrested as they covered 2021 election-related events.
On Thursday, 12 November 2020, the NBS TV team led by reporter Daniel Lutaaya and cameraman Thomas Kitimbo was attacked by unknown thugs in Lira where they were covering the campaign of National Unity Platform’s presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi.
Their property, including a laptop, camera chargers, and phones, was stolen while the branded vehicle they were travelling in was vandalised.
Mr Lutaaya said on the NBS Media Roundtable on Friday morning November 13, that upon arrival in Lira town they were confronted by youths who had blockaded the road with burning tyres and stones.
It is not clear whether the attack was an isolated case of thuggery or politically motivated violence. Whatever the case, it should be roundly condemned by all, including the presidential candidates who are now traversing the country canvassing for votes.
There have also been several reported incidents of police brutality against journalists since the nomination of presidential candidates just 10 days ago.
On 3 November, journalists from different media houses covering a procession by Mr Kyagulanyi’s supporters were pepper-sprayed in Nakawa, en route to the nomination grounds in Kyambogo, Kampala.
On the same day, Vision Group journalist Ronald Kakooza was arrested while covering events at the Forum for Democratic Change headquarters in Najjanankumbi in a build-up to the nomination of the party’s candidate, Patrick Amuriat, who was also roughed up. Two days later, freelance journalist Moses Bwayo was shot in the face with a rubber bullet while filming NUP’s Kyagulanyi, who was heading to the party headquarters in Kamwokya.
“We condemn these acts of violence against journalists in the strongest terms,” said Dr Peter Mwesige, the ACME Executive Director.
“These actions are not only threatening journalists but also the free flow of information, which is especially vital during this election period.”
ACME calls on the police and other security agencies to provide the necessary security for journalists and all Ugandans and to investigate and prosecute those responsible for this violence.
ABOUT AFRICAN CENTRE FOR MEDIA EXCELLENCE: ACME is a Kampala-based independent, non-profit professional organisation committed to excellence in journalism and mass communication in Africa.
The organisation fulfils its mandate through refresher training for mid-career journalists; media literacy training for civil society organisations, corporate companies and others; media research; free expression advocacy; and media monitoring.
For further information, please contact Mr Apolo Kakaire on +256772-416-179; email@example.com