By Nasser Kasozi
The leadership of Parliamentary journalists under their umbrella body Uganda Parliamentary Press Association (UPPA) with solidarity have expressed anger for the police and security forces continued brutality agonists journalists and media workers and calls for a total boycott of all the activities organized by police and security agencies for their continues cruel and backward acts that have brutalized and blocking journalists from executing their cardinal work in covering Makerere university 15% fees increment strike.
As journalists and various players have teamed up to boycott and condemn these acts as a violation of press freedom and an abuse of journalist’s rights.
“We would like to implore media managers and editors to support the Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) proposed media boycott blackout on activities of security forces until there is commitment to end harassment of journalists and interference with the noble journalism work”. Moses Mulondo said in a statement.
This was announced at a press briefing which was held at Parliament on Friday by UPPA Leadership and other players from the civil society who joined the crusade to advocate for a total blackout of all its activities, supporting the decision that was taken by their parental body Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) executive yesterday.
UPPA President Moses Mulondo says this action was long overdue citing the severe battering of journalists over the years that have gone unabated.
A case in point, he mentioned Reuter’s James Akena and Wavamuno Broadcasting Service’s (WBS) Andrew Lwanga who remain confined in wheel chairs.
To justify the journalists call reports by human rights organizations on the conduct of security forces, Mulondo asked President Yoweri Museveni to fast check himself before his legacy is eroded.
“Having risen to power through fighting violation of people’s rights by past regimes, we call upon President Yoweri Museveni to take various necessary measures to stop atrocities committed by security forces”, he implores.
As a deterrent, Mulondo urged media managers to give prominence to stories involving officers accused of violating citizens constitutional rights and a parliamentary committee to look into the matter.
Utilizing this moment, he spared time to condemn rights abuses evidenced during the Makerere university student Protests that were sparked by a 15% tuition increment.
“We would like to add our voice to the voices of Ugandan parliamentarians from across the political divides who have condemned the primitive brutality and intimidation of Makerere university students”, he says.
Commenting on the latest standoff with the media, police spokesperson Fred Enanga expressed ignorance saying they are yet to receive a formal complaint entailing journalist’s complaints. However Enanga promised that once their grievances are brought to Police’s attention, it will respond accordingly.
“The respective department will guide us on the way forward. So we don’t have any write up and don’t know what the journalists are complaining about”, he responds.
At the tail end, Mulondo wants respective officers who beat journalists, Alex Esagala, Twesigye and attacked NBS reporter Canary Mugume and Davidson Ndyabahika of URN reprimanded hence forth.