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Do Not Punish Journalists For Doing Their Work-HRNJ

Following the issuance of a document containing death threats to twelve journalists operating within Southern Buganda region on Monday morning, Uganda Human Rights Network (HRNJ) for journalists has come up and asked various security organs in the country to take this matter seriously and protect the victims against any possible attacks.

In a statement issued by HRNJ on Monday, the Executive Director of this body Mr Robert Ssempala asked the concerned security bodies to carry out the required investigations to have the perpetrators arrested and brought to book.

“Journalists must not be punished for doing their work; instead if anyone is aggrieved by their work, they should resort to the due processes of the law. The safety of journalists must be taken as a priority at all times,” Ssempala said.

The letter containing names of twelve (12) journalists was discovered at the South Buganda Journalists Association (SOBUJA) offices in Masaka, where a warning was issued to kill by shooting, hacking or poisoning of the said journalists.

According to the letter that was typed in Luganda language, the said attacker(s) gave different reasons as to why each of the said journalists was to be killed. The document didn’t however specify when the intended killings would be effected.

The journalists whose names were on the anonymous letter include; Tomusange Kayinja, Kalanzi Jamiru, Male John and Ssozi Ssekimpi of the Central Broadcasting Services (CBS FM), Nsubuga Robert of BBS TV, Jacinta Bwanika of Bukedde, Mukasa Kipecu and Kabugu Norman of Kamunye, Dismas Buregeya of New Vision, Mutyaba Gertrude of Daily Monitor, Issa Aliga of NTV and Farisi Magembe of NBS Television.

Nsubuga Robert, one of the targeted journalists told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that a brown envelope containing the list of the targeted journalists was found at the entrance of the CBS FM Bureau office located at Laston Business Centre Building and another envelope containing the same threatening message was found at the office entrance of the SOBUJA office, all of which are located in Masaka Town, South Western Uganda.

“I am in fear for my life given the current trend of senseless killings that start with the perpetrators sending their victims similar threats,” Nsubuga said.

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Another journalist, Dismas Buregeya told HRNJ-Uganda that a team from the District Internal Security Office (ISO) led by Lieutenant Andrew Kandiho went to the office of SOBUJA and took the document promising to carry out further investigations into possible sources.

A month ago, one of the journalists on the target list, Tomusange Kayinja of CBS FM was nearly shot when unknown assailants waylaid him as he returned to his home. They fired at his car shattering its hind windscreen just a few meters from his residence.

Kayinja told HRNJ-Uganda that he is more scared for his life since these threats have come barely a few months after an attempt to his life by gunmen in the night.

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.

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