IFJ Condemns Campaign against Media as More Journalists Come under Attack in Uganda
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the planned assaults on at least six journalists by people believed to be supporters of the Mayoral candidate of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) ,Peter Ssematimba. The journalists, who all sustained serious injuries, were covering the local government elections at the Kakeeka polling station in Rubaga Parish in Kampala’s Lubaga Division, on Wednesday, 23 February 2011.
According to the Human Rights Network for Journalists in Uganda, the journalists’ attackers thugs devise a plan to assault the journalists by inviting media houses to cover the voting of Ssematimba at the Kekeeka polling station. HRNJ- Uganda states “The plan to beat up the journalists resulted from widespread coverage highlighting election irregularities where several ballot boxes were found to be filled with pre-ticked ballots favouring Ssematimba”.
“This is the latest violent in a series of deliberate attacks on media during this election period,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. “We demand that the authorities launch an investigation and bring to justice both the attackers and the master minders of these acts of hooliganism.”
The Ugandan Journalists Union (UJU), an IFJ affiliate, reported that Florence Nabukera of Bukedde FM, Christine Namatumba of Metro FM, Lydia Nabaziwa of Bukedde TV and Jane Anyango were all beaten up at different polling stations in Lubaga, while Nixon Bbaale, camera operator with Channel 44 TV sustained a serious cut on his head while covering the scuffle at the Kakeeka polling station. Brian Nsimbe of Channel 44 TV was also assaulted and sustained an injury on his arm.
The (IFJ) says that the violence targeting media during the elections in Uganda represents a test for the commitment of the President Elect, Yoweri Museveni to press freedom and public accountability.
“Journalists have a fundamental role to play in every democratic society, including scrutinising the process of choosing leaders during elections,” added Baglo. “Recent violent attacks on media in Uganda were not in keeping with the country’s Constitution and other international instruments that Uganda has signed and ratified.”
For more information contact the IFJ at +221 33 867 95 87
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide