Ugandan police quiz journalists over a story

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Kampala, 14th/May/2013; Uganda’s Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Directorate (CIID) has quizzed three Daily Monitor journalists over a contentious story the newspaper published on 07th May, allegedly by the Coordinator of Intelligence Services, General David Sejusa (Formerly Tinyefuza), alleging that there was a plot to assassinate some top government officials.

 

The Daily Monitor Managing Editor, Don Wanyama and two senior reporters Risdel Kasasira and Richard Wanambwa were interrogated by a 10man team of CIID detectives, on 14th May, for a full day. The trio was charged with refusing to disclose information to police.

The said letter claimed that there was a plot to eliminate senior government officials opposed to the ‘Muhoozi Project’, a reference to an alleged scheme to have the first son, Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, take over the presidency from his father, President Museveni. The alleged letter was addressed to the director of Internal Security Organization (ISO), asking him to investigate the alleged plot to assassinate top government officials including the Prime Minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi, Gen. Sejusa and the Chief of Defense Forces(CDF) Gen. Aronda Nyakairima who are reportedly opposed to the perceived ‘Muhoozi project’.

“Initially the journalists were supposed to assist the police with information as potential witnesses,but  police suddenly changed their status to potential suspects when it asked them to sign Charge and Caution statements in the late afternoon.” said the journalists’ lawyer James Nangwala.

 The team of detectives led by the Head of the Media and Political Crimes unit, Simon Kuteesa and Fred Mirondo, wanted the journalists to reveal the source of the letter published by the paper on 7th May, a request the journalists refused to heed.

“We couldn’t avail the letter published in the paper nor name the source of the information as it contravenes the journalists’ code of conduct.” Wanyama told HRNJ-Uganda, adding that, “Everything we had to say was written in the story. We shall continue with our work, we shall not be intimidated.”

The journalists are due to re-appear at the CIID headquarters in Kibuli, Kampala for further questioning on 15th May.

 “It is wrong for the police to force the journalists to reveal their news sources. The Press and Journalists Act protects media practitioners from revealing their sources of new, unless ordered by competent courts of law. So the police should follow the proper procedure to get their desired iformation. Otherwise what they are doing is illegal. It also has the potential to set up journalists against their sources, should they reveal them as the sources of their information.”  Said HRNJ-Uganda’s National Coordinator Wokulira Ssebaggala

For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) Plot 18, Block 12 Stensera Road Kayanja Triangle Zone
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala. Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627  E-mail: news@hrnjuganda.org / humanrajournalists@yahoo.co.uk / Website: http://www.hrnjuganda.org ;BLOG: http://hrnjuganda.blogpost.com

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About Human Rights Network For Journalists-Uganda

HRNJ-Uganda was established in 2005 by a group of human rights-minded journalists who developed a sense of activism amidst a deteriorating context due to glaring abuses targeting the media. The network gained formal registration as an independent non-profit and non-partisan media organisation in 2006. The identity of HRNJ-Uganda lies with its diverse membership across the board including the print and electronic media, freelance investigative journalists and individuals from other professions.
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