Kenyan editors condemn attacks on Uganda journalists

Tuesday August 21 2018

Churchill Otieno

Kenya Editors Guild Chairman Churchill Otieno speaking during the launch of the Editors Guilds Press club at the Sarova Stanley Hotel Nairobi, on June 12, 2018. The guild has condemned the attacks on journalists covering the ongoing protests in Uganda. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION 

By The EastAfrican
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Kenyan editors have condemned the attacks on journalists covering the ongoing protests in Uganda. 

The Kenya Editors Guild on Tuesday said it was “gravely concerned about the developments affecting media freedom” in the country.

“The action of security agencies in Uganda is a blatant attempt to silence journalists and deny Ugandans and the world the right to know and understand political and democratic events in that country. It must be condemned by all respectable individuals and nations, regardless of their positions or stations in society and the world,” the guild's chairman Churchill Otieno said in a statement.

On Monday, Ugandan soldiers were caught on camera beating up a Reuters photojournalist James Akena as he covered a demonstration in the capital Kampala.

Other journalists meted out with brute force and their equipment damaged include; Herbert Zziwa (NTV), Ronald Muwanga (NTV), Julius Bakabaage (NBS), Ronald Galiwango (NTV), Juma Kiirya (NTV), Kyambadde Samuel (Metro FM) and Richard of Ghetto TV.

The Kenyan journalists say that the intent is to clampdown on free speech and right to access information.

“When journalists are silenced society suffers. When freedom of expression is curtailed all other freedoms are threatened and democracy is under threat,” added Mr Otieno.

However, in a statement on Tuesday, the Ugandan military apologised the "unprofessional conduct of soldiers who molested journalists."

Riots broke out in parts Kampala on Monday in protests against detention of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine.

Kyagulanyi an other opposition-leaning MPs were arrested in the northwestern town of Arua last Monday ahead of Arua Municipality by-election.

Their detention follows a fracas between MP-elect Kassiano Wadri’s supporters and those of ruling NRM party candidate Nusura Tiperu.

In the chaos, Mr Kyagulanyi's driver, Yasin Kawuma, was shot dead and the rear window of a vehicle in President Yoweri Museveni's motorcade smashed.

Mr Kyagulanyi is due to appear before a military court on Thursday on charges of possession of illegal firearm.

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