Police, UPDF again top list of perpetrators of violence against journalists

Police arrest Radio One journalist Saif-llah Ashraf Kasirye (left) at Luuka play ground in Luuka District on November 18, 2020. PHOTO/ ABUBAKER LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • In November last year, CBC News foreign correspondent Margaret Evans, Producer Lily Martin and Videographer Jean-François Bisson were deported from Uganda ahead of January 2021 presidential poll.

The Uganda Police Force (UPF) has again been listed in the first position of perpetrators of violence against journalists, according to a Press Freedom Index Report 2020 by Human Rights Network for Journalists Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda).

Police was responsible for 104 cases out of the total 174 violations against journalists recorded; most of which were perpetrated during the recently concluded election campaigns.

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) comes in the second position with at least 31 cases, mostly perpetrated during the implementation of the presidential directives to contain the spread of Covid-19 which was first confirmed in the country in March last year, according to the report.

After UPDF, comes community/mob accused of assaulting journalists who allegedly did not show support for their preferred political candidates during political campaigns.

Immigrations department was ranked fourth, for especially deporting foreign journalists.

In November last year, CBC News foreign correspondent Margaret Evans, Producer Lily Martin and Videographer Jean-François Bisson were deported from Uganda ahead of January 2021 presidential poll.

Ms Evans stated on Twitter that they had been arrested by Ugandan immigration officers and detained for 10 hours before being deported.

The Resident District Commissioners (RDC) were also included on the list for intimidating journalists and switching off radio stations hosting Opposition politicians in their respective districts of operation.

Of the 174 cases recorded, 69 were assault; 40 blocked access; 29 arrests and 36 other violations.

When asked to comment about the report, police said they needed more time to examine it.

"We have not yet seen the report and so cannot make a comment. Our legal directorate has to look at the report first," Police spokesperson, Mr Fred Enanga told this reporter on Thursday.

However, this is the 12th year in a row that police has been ranked in the first position for brutalizing journalists.

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