How world media covered Monitor siege

How the BBC covered the protest by journalists on Tuesday over the continued siege of the Monitor Publications premises by police officers. Two journalists were arrested and others were beaten by officers using batons.

What you need to know:

Media freedom. International players, including governments and organisations, criticised the closure of the media houses.


For so long a time, it has become increasingly hard for Uganda to appear in the international media for the good cause.

Corruption, infringement on human rights, the hunt for Lord’s Resistance Army warlord Joseph Kony, floods in Kasese and landslides in the east, among others, have been the reasons for Uganda to appear in international media, save for last year when the country took headlines for celebration of the golden jubilee.

On May 20, when police and other security agencies raided officers of two newspapers, Red Pepper and Daily Monitor, the latter which also houses radios KFM and Dembe FM, in search for a letter authored by Gen David Sejusa.

The letter claims that there is a plan to assassinate senior military and government officials opposed to a secret plan to have the first son Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba as the next leader after his father President Museveni.

Since then, the international media has been awash with news from Uganda in regard to the closed media houses. US-based newspaper, the New York Times, for instance carried a story highlighting how the attack on the two media houses put President Museveni’s legacy of being one of the continents best leaders on the line.

How the world reacted

The following are edited extracts:

The Times South Africa (May 16)

Uganda plot blackout
Sensitivities have been heightened by recent allegations that President Yoweri Museveni is grooming his son for power. Speculation is growing that Museveni, in office since 1986, is lining up his son, Kainerugaba Muhoozi, to succeed him - a move that would test loyalties in the ruling elite. Last week the Daily Monitor published a letter written by General David Sejusa in which he called for an investigation of claims of a plot “to assassinate people who disagree with this so-called family project of holding onto power in perpetuity”.

Voice of America
Police in Uganda’s capital have closed down the offices of the Daily Monitor. Earlier this month, the Daily Monitor published a series of stories about Uganda’s coordinator of intelligence services, General David Sejusa. Daily Monitor reporter Tabu Butagira told VOA about the police takeover of the newspaper’s offices.

Miami Herald, USA
Uganda police raid newspaper over general’s letter
Ugandan police disabled an independent newspaper’s printing press after forcibly entering its premises to look for evidence against an army general who recently questioned the president’s alleged plan to have his son succeed him, witnesses said Monday.
Alex Asiimwe, the Daily Monitor’s managing director, said in a statement that the company was “horrified by this act,” and the paper’s top editors later issued a joint statement saying press freedom is “under threat” in the East African country. A meeting Monday of the International Press Institute in Amman, Jordan demanded an end to the siege of the newspaper’s premises.

The Daily Nation, Kenya
Uganda police shut down Monitor
The Uganda Police have closed down the Daily Monitor and its two sister radio stations, KFM and Dembe FM, declaring the newspaper’s premises a “scene of crime”.
Security sources said the government is cracking the whip over media reports on the frenzy surrounding the prospects of President Museveni’s son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, for the presidency, dubbed by the coordinator of Intelligence Services, Gen Sejusa as the “Muhoozi Project”.
Monitor Publications managing director Alex Asiimwe described the situation as “very surprising and unfortunate”.

Irish Independent
Ugandan police shut down newspaper after anti-President letter
Police have raided a leading Ugandan newspaper and disabled its printing press and website today after it published a letter about a purported plot to stifle allegations President Yoweri Museveni is grooming his son for power, a senior editor said.
Uganda’s media regulator warned it would “penalise” excessive coverage about the Sejusa letter and a court ordered the Daily Monitor to hand over the document, a decision the newspaper has appealed.

Guardian, London
Ugandan newspaper raided over Museveni plot claim
Police in Uganda have closed down a Kampala-based newspaper majority owned by Kenyan blue-chip Nation Media Group over its reports that high-level critics claim the president intends to hand over power to his son.
Ugandan officials said they were looking for evidence that signature from senior military figures had been doctored to produce dissenting letters, according to the Daily Monitor.

Independent Uganda
US criticises Uganda media attack
The US on May 21 criticised the raid of two newspapers and closure of two other radio stations saying the disruptions, no matter the justifications offered, risk having a chilling effect on the freedoms of expression and speech enshrined in the Ugandan Constitution.

The Observer, Uganda
Monitor, Red Pepper talks with govt deadlocked
When a government minister outlined the stringent terms for the reopening of Daily Monitor, many thought the shutdown of the publication and its two radios—Dembe and Kfm - and the Red Pepper was about to be lifted.
But reliable sources say the light at the end of the tunnel has begun to dim.

BBC, Focus on Africa.
The Ugandan government is being accused of interfering with press freedom after police raids on the offices of two of the country’s most popular newspapers.
Last week, newspapers reported claims allegedly made by an army general that those opposed to President Yoweri Museveni’s son succeeding him risk being killed.