Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Inter-Party Organisation for Dialogue -IPOD has asked the Inspector General of Police to take appropriate action against repeated acts of brutality metted against Journalists on duty by members of security forces.
This call by IPOD, an organisation that brings together all Political Parties with representation in parliament, comes days after members of security forces were caught on camera beating Journalists who had gone to the United Nations Human Rights Offices in Kololo Kampala. The journalists were covering former Presidential Candidate Robert Kyagulanyi petition the UN office over human rights violations by government against Ugandans.
“We call upon the Inspector General of Police to ensure these Unfortunate occurrences are not repeated and to unequivocally commit to uphold and respect freedom of the press and especially the right to Journalists to do their noble duties unfettered and free of violence and threats” wrote, the Council of Secretaries General of IPOD
In a statement signed by Secretaries General of IPOD member Political Parties, the National Resistance Movement-NRM, Justice Forum-JEEMA, Uganda People’s Congress-UPC, Democratic Party-DP and Forum for Democratic Change-FDC, they say actions of some members of the security forces are unacceptable and constitute a violation of the right to Journalists to cover events that are newsworthy free of intimidation and violence.
“In particular we are dismayed by the widely circulating video footage that appears to show Police and army officers clobbering numerous reporters and photographers on Wednesday 17th February as they covered the events at the UN Human Rights Offices” said the Council of Secretaries General of the IPOD
The IPOD further commended the Chief of Defense Forces David Muhoozi for apologizing to Journalists.
After the Kololo incident, the army apologized and seven members of the forces were taken to court and sentenced.
Capt Jessy Odwenyi, Cpl Nimusiima Justine, Pte Wasswa Peter, Pte Tsame Imran, Pte Kisakye Victoria, Pte Opiyo Isaac and Lance Corporal Zirimenya Kassim we found culpable of the offence.
Other than Zirimenya who was sentenced to 60 days in prison, Nimusiima who was sentenced to ‘severe reprimand and caution,’ Kisakye and Opiyo who were sentenced to 62 and 60 days respectively, the rest were sentenced to three months at Makindye military prison.
However, while some members of the media have accepted the apology, others have dismissed it as a mere act of public relations intended to calm tempers within the media and the general public that had flares during after the incidence.
The Journalists who were roughed up last Wednesday include NTV journalist, John Cliff Wamala, Josephine Namakumbi of NBS TV, Irene Abalo Otto- Daily Monitor, and Amina Nalule of Galaxy Fm.