Journalists and other media practitioners have this morning resolved to boycott all government activities in protest against what they call “planned and coordinated attack on journalists by government forces.”
The journalists resolved to petition President Yoweri Museveni and police chief Kale Kayihura on the attack of journalists. They are calling for immediate investigations into the attack on journalists. They also demand immediate return of all confiscated tools.
In the resolution, read by Mathias Mulumba Mayombwe, the acting national coordinator Uganda Media Development Foundation, the journalists also demand an immediate public apology from government. They say that if their conditions were not met, they would abandon all government activities.
Representatives from four media organizations gathered at Grand Imperial Hotel to review the events surrounding the attack on journalists while they covered FDC leader Kizza Besigye’s procession from Entebbe. Besigye returned yesterday morning from Nairobi where he had gone for treatment following his brutal arrest two weeks ago.
As chaos errupted along Entebbe Road, President Yoweri Museveni was being sworn in at Kololo Grounds for his forth elective term, witnessed by leaders representing 25 African governments.
The organizations that gathered at the hotel include Uganda Newspaper Editors and Proprietors Association (UNEPA), Uganda Media Development Association (UMDF), Uganda Journalists Association (UJA), Uganda Parliamentary Press Association (UPPA) and the Uganda Human Rights Network for Journalists.
Information minister Kabakumba Matsiko and her internal affairs counterpart Kirunda Kivejinja were scheduled to address a press conference at the Uganda Media Centre to give an update of yesterday’s events along Entebbe Road. But journalists vowed to boycott the event, and this may have prompted minister Kabakumba to cancel the briefing.
Over ten journalists are said to have been assaulted yesterday and some of them had their cameras and recorders confiscated or damaged by the security personnel. Capital FM’s Gideon Tugume was shot in the leg. The others assaulted include Mercy Nalugo of Daily Monitor, Mulindwa Mukasa of WBS TV, Joseph Buule of UBC TV, Robert Mutebi of New Vision, Francis Tumukwasize, a freelance journalist and Nickson Bbale who works for Channel 44.
On Thursday last week, President Museveni addressed addressed a press conference at his Rwakitura country home and accused journalists of distorting facts, misrepresenting issues and being biased. The president accused journalists of especially being one-sided when covering the walk to work riots.
Since the start of the walk to work protests on April 11, there has been an almost coordinated attack on journalists covering the demonstrations. Journalists are being targeted as they cover the violent confrontations between security operatives and protestors.