Human Rights Network for Journalists - Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
This statement was originally published on hrnjuganda.org on 5 November 2018.
The Ugandan media fraternity woke up to shocking news of death threats to twelve journalists operating within the Southern Buganda region. This was after a letter containing the names of twelve (12) different journalists was discovered at the South Buganda Journalists Association (SOBUJA) offices in Masaka threatening to shoot or poison the said journalists.
According to the message typed on a white paper in block letters in the Luganda language, the said attack(s) gave a different reason over why each of the said journalists was to be killed. The document didn't however specify when the intended killings would be effected.
The journalists whose names were on the anonymous letter include: Tomusange Kayinja, Kalanzi Jamiru, Male John and Ssozi Ssekimpi of the Central Broadcasting Services (CBS FM), Nsubuga Robert of BBS TV, Jacinta Bwanika of Bukedde, Mukasa Kipecu and Kabugu Norman of Kamunye, Dismas Buregeya of New Vision, Mutyaba Gertrude of Daily Monitor, Issa Aliga of NTV and Farisi Magembe of NBS Television.
Nsubuga Robert, one of the targeted journalists, told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that a brown envelope containing the list of the targeted journalists was found at the entrance of the CBS FM Bureau office located at Laston Business Centre Building and another envelope containing the same threatening message was found at the entrance of the SOBUJA office, all of which located in Masaka Town, South Western Uganda.
"I am in fear for my life given the current trend of senseless killings that start with the perpetrators sending their victims similar threats," Nsubuga intimated to HRNJ-Uganda.
Another journalist, Dismas Buregeya, told HRNJ-Uganda that a team from the District Internal Security Office (ISO) led by Lieutenant Andrew Kandiho went to the office of SOBUJA and took the document, promising to carry out further investigations into possible sources.
A month ago, one of the journalists on the target list, Tomusange Kayinja of CBS FM, was nearly shot when unknown assailants waylaid him as he returned to his home. They fired at his car shattering its hind windscreen just a few meters from his residence.
Kayinja told HRNJ-Uganda that he is more scared for his life since these threats have come barely a few months after an attempt on his life by gunmen in the night.
"The death threats to the journalists must be taken seriously by all the security forces which must then move fast to protect them from the possible attacks by anonymous people, and also investigate to bring the perpetrators to book. Journalists must not be punished for doing their work, instead if anyone is aggrieved by their work, they should resort to the due processes of the law. The safety of journalists must be taken as a priority at all times," said the HRNJ-Uganda Executive Director, Robert Ssempala.