Crime

Uganda: Police Attacks on Journalists Attract Wide Condemnation

African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) has condemned attacks on journalists covering presidential candidates, saying such actions are “a cause of serious concern.’

Saif-llah Ashraf Kasirye, a Radio One correspondent and an online Ghetto TV cameraman, NTV’s Ali Mivule, and Daniel Lutaaya of NBS TV were injured earlier on Sunday as police attempted to disperse supporters of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.

Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said teargas was used to quell the violence and journalists were regrettably caught up during the process of dispersing the violent group.

“Notably among them was a Ghetto TV crew member identified as Ashraf Kasirye, who sustained blunt force injuries above the left eye allegedly from a canister,” said Enanga before promising police would “investigate the circumstances.”

Over the last seven weeks, at least 15 journalists have been attacked, injured, and/or arrested as they covered 2021 election-related events.

“The increasingly brazen and arbitrary clampdown on independent journalism and civic space in the run-up to the general elections is a cause of serious concern,” said Dr Peter G. Mwesige, the executive director of African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME).

ACME said the “safety of journalists is particularly critical because without free media citizens won’t access the accurate information they need to make informed decisions and participate in their governance. The perpetrators of these attacks on journalists must be brought to book.”

A week ago, security agencies arrested human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo for allegedly laundering money, claims his organisation denies.

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Opiyo, executive director of Chapter Four Uganda, was arrested together with three other lawyers — Herbert Dakasi, Anthony Odur, Esomu Obure, and Hamid Tenywa.

The three lawyers have since been released on bail. Mr Opiyo remains in custody until he has a chance to apply for bail in the Anti-Corruption Court today, December 28.

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