KAMPALA – Police have arrested several journalists, including their leader, Mr Bashir Kazibwe, who were marching to the force’s headquarters in Naguru, Kampala, to deliver a petition protesting their brutality by security forces.
The journalists, who were holding placards denouncing police’s continued harassment as they cover Makerere University protests, were on Monday morning intercepted near Jinja Road Police Station. They were then driven to the Central Police Station where they are being held.
The development comes after different sections of society condemned the manner in which many journalists were treated last week as they covered the Makerere strike.
Editors last week condemned the manner in which security agencies treated journalists.
A number of journalists were arrested, beaten up and others denied entry to the university during the coverage of the protests against the 15% tuition fees increment policy.
The editors, under their umbrella body, the Uganda Editors’ Guild, in a statement issued on Thursday, October 31, 2019, said journalists are mandated to cover the protests as enshrined in the Ugandan Constitution and the security agencies should respect their work.
“The Uganda Editors’ Guild expresses concern and condemns in the strongest terms possible the attacks and restrictions on journalists covering the on-going fees strike at Makerere University,” the statement issued by Mr Daniel K. Kalinaki, the interim chairman of the Uganda Editors’ Guild, and Ms Sylvia Nankya, the Interim Secretary, reads in part.
The editors said among those attacked or injured as security agencies responded to the protests on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 were journalists from NBS Television, the Nation Media Group – Uganda, the Uganda Radio Network, “whereas security agencies had earlier been reported to have restricted access and intimidated journalists from BBC, Bukedde TV and BBS”.
“We call upon the Uganda Police Force and sister security agencies to respect the freedom of journalists to cover the protests as enshrined in the Ugandan Constitution and to avoid actions that compromise their individual safety. Journalists in the country are urged to keep reporting about topical issues professionally and to report any restrictions or threats made against them,” the statement adds.