The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Martin Okoth Ochola has maintained that the Police Tribunal has a right to block journalists from covering any proceedings before it.
Ochola was responding to the concerns by MPs sitting on the Defense and Internal Affairs Committee of Parliament, regarding the reported battering of Journalists at Naguru Police Headquarters who had gone to cover the case in which ASP Mohammed Kirumira is accused of misconduct.
Reporters at the Police headquarters were filmed being roughed up by Police as they tried to access the court.
Ochola said the tribunal is allowed under the law to “exclude the press or the public from all or any proceedings before it for reasons of morality, public order or national security, as may be necessary in a free and democratic society.”
The IGP said he doesn’t condone assaulting Journalists, and advised those who were beaten to seek redress since assault is a criminal act which should be tried in Courts of law.
“An assault is a criminal Act; whoever assaults a journalist commits a crime which has to be investigated,” Ocola said.
He however, condemned the actions of the former Buyende DPC Kirumira, who he said needs to be disciplined.
“You have all watched the conduct of this officer, his conduct requires us to have him tried in hell perhaps, and you will agree with me that at least we have been giving Kirumira the benefit of doubt.”
“Kirumira takes advantage of being portrayed by the press as a martyr and we shall not accept that,” he added.