Uganda: Nine Journalists arrested on trumped up charges

Eight journalists and the Executive Director of Alternative Digitalk, an online television network were arrested during the police’s raid at their premises in Makindye, Kampala, Uganda’s capital on 10 March as part of the investigation into alleged “offensive communication”. Seven were later released without charge.


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Uganda Journalists Union (UJU) in condemning this heavy handed behaviour which stifles freedom of expression and media freedom.

Alternative Digital Executive Director Norman Tumuhimbise was supposed to launch a book “Liars and Complices” on 30 March which many people say is critical of President Yoweri Museveni. 

Ugandan Police spokesman, Fred Enanga, said that the police received a complaint that the group was “involved in offensive communication and promoting hate speech.”

Those journalists arrested included, Mukose Arnold (Programs Director), Faridah Bikobere (TV Host), Jeremiah Mukiibi (Producer), Tumusiime Kato (Production), Tulyahabwe Roger (Production),Nabukeera Teddy Teangle (Presenter), Lillian Luwedde (presenter) and Wabyona Jeje Jacob (an intern student from Uganda Christian University). 

The group was reportedly bundled into a van by armed security personnel while police confiscated their laptops, phones, recorders and cameras.

While seven of the journalists were released on Thursday, 17 March without charge, Norman Tumuhimbise and Tv host Faridah Bikobere were charged with cyber-stalking the country's president.  "Both were tortured like the other journalists with whom they were arrested, " their lawyer said to AFP.

The President of the UJU, Lucy Anyango Ekadu, condemned the raid and arrest of the journalists.  «These are acts aimed at intimidating the media and stifling critical news reporting.”

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said that the arrest was a flagrant violation of the right to freedom of expression and media freedom and a clear attempt to instill fear and silence the media. “The Government of Uganda must accept dissenting opinions and allow the media to operate without any form of harassment and intimidation. We are very concerned about the current communication legislation in place in the country, which is extremely threatening for the media, in particular those covering internet use. We demand the immediate release of our colleagues.” 


For more Information, please contact the IFJ - Africa Office

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