Uganda: Violence Against Journalists Continues
Kampala, Uganda. February 23, 2011/HRNJ/– Kampala central division chairman Godfrey Amooti Nyakana and his bouncers have rounded up and assaulted a Red Pepper photojournalist Arinaitwe George Sidel over taking photos without their permission.Arinaitwe is the seventh journalist to be assaulted during the wide-spread violence that characterized the local council five polls for district chairpersons and councilors held today.
Arinaitwe, 26 told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that at 9:30am local time he was alerted about the electoral malpractices by a source at Railway Park polling station along Jinja road and hurried to reach the scene.He said upon reaching at the scene he found people arguing over the many ballot papers which had been stuffed in the box yet very few people had voted according to the register.
“I started taking photos and immediately a gang of people came, lifted me up and took me to Nyakana who immediately grabbed my camera. I pleaded to him to release my camera but instead his bouncers boxed me in the face and I fell down” Arinaitwe narrated.
HRNJ-Uganda has learnt that despite pleadings from fellow journalists to get back the camera but Nyakana resorted to insults and disappeared with camera on a motorcycle locally referred to as boda bodas. He accused the journalist for taking his photo without his permission
“People should understand that photojournalists are not obligated to seek permission to take a photo of anybody while in a public place. Such an act is a gross abuse of journalists’ rights and freedoms and this is the second time when Nyakana is taking the law his hands” Said HRNJ-Uganda Programmes Coordinator Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala.
HRNJ-Uganda demand for the arrest of Nyakana and his bouncers to and brought to justice as a way of reducing high level of impunity in Uganda. The case has been reported to Kampala Central Police station and a file has been opened.
For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Kivebulaya Road – Mengo Kampala Opp. St. Marcelino Pre. School
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala
Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627