Covid-19: Media condemns latest assault of journalists

Sunday April 05 2020

Beaten. An LDU member whips a man in downtown Kampala on March 26. Some LDU members have resorted to brutality while enforcing government’s measures against Covid-19. PHOTO BY ALEX ESGALA

Media house owners under their umbrella body the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) have condemned the latest beating of journalists by security forces.

The say the acts are likely to jeopardise their efforts in the fight against coronavirus (Covid-19).
Some of the journalists in the country have fallen victims of random beatings while security personnel enforce the presidential directives in preventing the pandemic.

In an April 3 letter to the National Task Force on Covid-19, the chairperson of NAB, Mr Kin Kariisa, highlighted this week’s beatings of journalists Musisi Kalyankolo, a Vision Group’s reporter in Mukono District and Mr Perez Rumanzi, a Nation Media Group scribe in Ntungamo District.
“Whereas NAB supports the government measures to curb the spread of coronavirus and have carried out approved messages on various platforms, it is unfortunate government security agencies are working against our efforts and curtailing our operations,” Mr Kariisa said in the letter.
This week, Security minister, Gen Elly Tumwine, assured the country that the stickers issued by the Ministry of Works and Transport to essential service providers during this lockdown are useful up to 7pm when the nationwide curfew gets into force.

But NAB says this statement by the minister was not considerate of the journalists in broadcasting and those in print media who report to work earlier than the 6:30am curfew lifting time and also leave work later than 7pm.

“All this started with the Security minister declaring that no one will be allowed to move during curfew hours, effective 7pm every day. It is difficult to see how the media can work with such orders because we are expected to broadcast live His Excellency the President’s national addresses that happen at 8pm most of the times,” he added.
The broadcasters, who have always interrupted their normal programming to run Covid-19 updates including daily press conferences by ministers and security agencies, have expressed a worry that if the harassment continues, their efforts in carrying out sensitisation messages will be derailed.

While addressing the nation on Friday night, President Museveni condemned the beatings of people by security personnel and threatened to “deal with them severely”.


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