HRNJ-Uganda alert, Police arrest HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, teargas journalists

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Arrested; HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator Wokulira Ssebaggala (standing on a police patrol). police dispersed journalists camping at Daily Monitor offices at Namuwongo

Kampala, 28th/May/2013; the police has, this morning 28th May,  violently dispersed journalists who had camped outside the Monitor Publications  Limited closed offices. They arrested the National Coordinator of Humana Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala, amidst heavy teargas. The Police also sealed off the 8th Street along which the Monitor is located.

The police engaged the journalists in running battles for over forty minutes. They confiscated two video cameras. A foreign journalist was his with a baton on her left eyes. Among the most affected journalists included, the HRNJ-Uganda Board Chairperson Mulindwa Mukasa, Bahati Remmy of NBS television, Sudhir Byaruhanga of NTV-a sister media house to Monitor, Williams Ntege aks Kyumakyayesu,among others

The journalists led by HRNJ-Uganda walked to Namuwongo this morning and camped outside the Monitor offices to show solidarity and demanding that government re-opens Daily Monitor, DembeFM, K-FM and the Red Pepper which were cordoned off and shut down by security forces on May 20th, to search for a controversial letter authored by the Coordinator of Security services in Uganda, Gen. David Sejusa (Tinyefuza), who is currently out of the country.

The Monitor published the said letter in which Sejusa called upon the Director General of Internal Security Organisation (ISO), Ronnie Balya to investigate reports that there was a plot to kill top government officers who were opposed to a reported plot named the ‘Muhoozi project’ to have President Museven’s son Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba succeed his father as president. Museveni has been Uganda’s president since 1986 when he took over power after a five year busy war.

Mid-last week, Court recalled a search warrant which the police used to cordoned off the four media houses and ordered them to vacate the premises. The police have however defied the orders.

The police chief Gen. Kale Kayihura on 27th May said that the police would not vacate the affected media houses until they secure an original letter authored by Gen. Sejusa. He criticized the court for recalling the search warrant.

The media in Uganda is under intense pressure from the Ugandan government against critical reporting. The broadcast regulatory body, Uganda Communications Commission has severally warned to revoke licenses of such media houses.

On 27th May, HRNJ-Uganda issued an ultimatum to government to unconditionally re-open the four media houses or face Court action.

 

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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