Investigation ordered into violations against Journalists in Uganda

February 18, 2015 OPINION/NEWS

Ugandan journalist

 

By

Robert Ssewankambo

The Ugandan Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima has ordered an investigation into cases of violations of media freedom and journalists’ rights, the report to be released to the public in order to end impunity.

During a three hour meeting between journalists led by the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda and Gen. Aronda, at his offices at Kololo Airstrip, over heightened brutality against journalists by security agents, in particular the police, he also called for continuous dialogue between the media and key government institutions and departments.

Aronda commended the role played by the media as the fourth estate of government, observing that this critical role must be well known by all government agencies especially the armed forces: “The role of the media is a ‘must know’ not a ‘should know’ to all government bodies.”

Aronda committed to ensuring that there are regular structured meetings between the media and officials from the ministry of information and national guidance, the police, prisons, immigration, spokespersons of government departments and key media personalities to deliberate on the challenges being faced by the media with a view to improving the working environment.

In a three page petition handed to the minister by the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala, the journalists asked Gen. Aronda to ensure that errant police officers face disciplinary measures, be suspended from their offices of work and discharged from the force as a way to counter the wide scale impunity, requesting also that the reports of such actions be made public.

Lynn Najjemba, from Panos Eastern Africa asked the minister to ensure that journalists are treated fairly like other citizens of Uganda.

Aronda instructed the Ministry of Internal Affairs Permanent Secretary, Dr. Stephen Kagoda to coordinate efforts aimed at having regular meetings and dialogue over the issues raised during the meeting.

After failing to meet the Inspector General of Police, Gen. Kale Kayihura over the increased brutality against journalists which saw the then Old Kampala District Police Commander, Joram Mwesigye going on a rampage and beating journalists including a WBS Television journalist, Andrew Lwanga leaving him unconscious, the media players sought a meeting with Gen. Aronda, who is the line minister in charges of the police and prisons. The next meeting is slated for February 27, 2015.

 

 

 

 

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Robert Ssewankambo

Robert Ssewankambo is a Ugandan writer. Working currently on a freelance basis, he is a regular contributor to major newspapers in Uganda and electronic online magazines and media sources in Africa, such as the Bukedde newspaper, Hindered radio, Red Pepper, Eddobozzi newspaper and African Interest online.

For media enquiries, contact Robert at the following email address: sewankamborobert@gmail.com

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