In a petition jointly signed by Taylor and Grainne Harrington, FCAU expressed concern about the ongoing threats and violent assaults targeting their members in their line of duty. According to the petition, on November 3rd, an international journalist who wasn’t identified was paper-sprayed in the face by policemen while following the National Unity Platform-NUP presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi to the nomination center in Kyambogo.
The petition also says that on the same day images of international journalists were shared on social media falsely accusing them of being “Central Intelligence Agency-CIA agents from USA who were masquerading as journalists in Uganda.
“These spurious allegations were later shared on Twitter by an account belonging to Col. Paddy Ankunda, a former army spokesman, and following complaints, Col. Ankunda deleted his tweet. “Attempts to spread lies about accredited journalists is dangerous and jeopardizes our safety. This has to stop,” reads the petition.
FCAU notes that on November 5th, 2020, Moses Bwayo, a Ugandan journalist working for an international media house was shot in the face by policemen while filming the arrival of Kyagulanyi at the National Unity Platform-NUP offices in Kamwokya. It also says that a foreign journalist working for one of the biggest news organizations in the world was denied entry into Uganda at Entebbe airport.
The journalist body notes that barring international journalists, just two months before the 2021 general elections sets a disturbing precedent, painting an image like other countries that have barred international journalists to be the most repressive on the continent. “As FCUA we want the Minister of ICT and National guidance, Judith Nabakoba to use his powers to stop the use of smears and violence against Journalist in Uganda,” reads the petition.
Adding that, “We also appeal to the leaders of police, the army and other security agencies to protect journalists doing their jobs.”
The the petition is copied to the ICT Minister, Judith Nabakoba, Inspector General of Police, Martin Okoth Ochola, the Chief of Defense Forces- CDF, Gen. David Muhoozi and Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa.