Uganda: NUP Demands Justice for 35 Journalists

Opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) has appealed to the Judiciary to expedite the delivery of justice for 35 journalists whom it says were tortured while covering party activities.

"Many journalists who cover our activities have been targeted and we demand that they are given due justice. This spans from the Arua saga in 2018 to date," Mr Joel Ssenyonyi, the party spokesperson, said during an event to commemorate the World Press Freedom Day.

According to NUP, the brutalised journalists have never been compensated and continue to face harassment from security agencies.

A Press Freedom Index annual report released last week by the Human Rights Journalists Network Uganda indicated that police and the army topped the list of media freedom violators.

Out of the 174 documented cases, police allegedly committed 104, while the Uganda People's Defence Forces had 31 cases.

In February, the Inspector General of Police, Mr Martins Okoth-Ochola, turned down a demand by the media to have the institution apologise for assaulting them.

He said they beat the journalists to protect them from harm.

Journalists assaulted by security operatives included Mr Geoffrey Twesigye of NTV, Ms Irene Abalo of Daily Monitor, Ms Shamim Nabakooza of Record TV, Mr John Cliff Wamala of NTV and Mr Timothy Murungi of New Vision.

During a press conference at their headquarters at Naguru in Kampala, police spokesperson Fred Enanga said Mr Ochola had commended journalists for the noble contribution.

"The Force has promised to step up sensitisation on human rights among its frontline officers. Reporters sometimes operate in a hostile environment, and we promise to ensure the safety of journalists and better the relationship with media," Mr Enanga said.

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