The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
today has vigorously condemned the clamp down on the media in Uganda. According
to the Uganda Journalists Union (UJU), police on 20 May, besieged two privately
owned newspapers and cut off two radio stations from the air in the capital
“This is a real affront on media freedom. Uganda is
definitely becoming a country where press freedom abuses and violations are
widely perpetrated by the police with total impunity. This must stop
immediately,” said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa Director.
According to the UJU, on 20 May heavily armed policemen surrounded the “Daily Monitor” newspaper offices in Kampala, which is owned by Monitor Publications, and besieged the premises allowing no one to
enter or come out. No official reasons
were given for this act but UJU said, quoting sources, that the police were
looking for evidence against an army general who recently questioned President
Yoweri Museveni’s alleged plan to have his son succeed him.
On the same day, police ordered the switching off
of two radio stations, KFM and Dembe FM, both also owned by Monitor Publications. According to the
UJU, as the “Daily Monitor” was being
overrun by the Police another raid was being carried out on the premises of “Red Pepper” another independent
“The raid on the newspaper is aimed at intimidating
and suppressing the Press from reporting issues independently, objectively and
responsibly. If there is any crime against the journalists then aggrieved
parties should seek legal redress,” said UJU President, Lucy Anyango Ekadu.
The IFJ is deeply concerned about the continued
degradation of press freedom and freedom of expression in Uganda and calls on
the Government of President Yoweri Museveni to ensure that the safety of
journalists is guaranteed while executing their duties.
The Government of Uganda must be able to create the
enabling environment for the media to flourish in relation to its obligations
on the international instruments that it has signed and ratified guaranteeing
the freedom of expression. It could be
recalled that two weeks ago, the IFJ condemned the arrest of James Kasirivu of
Endigito Radio who is detained incommunicado without any charges against him.
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 221 33
867 95 86/87
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries