HRNJ-Uganda alert, police assault another journalist covering elections

Luwero, 23rd/May/2014; police is in the spotlight for assaulting a second journalist covering the Luweero Woman Parliamentary by-elections in a space of three days. Herbert Zziwa, a journalist working with KFM radio was hit with a baton on the head as he recorded supporters of the Democratic Party candidate who were celebrating her early lead as results were being tallied.

Zziwa told HRNJ-Uganda that he was hit with a baton on the head as he recorded Brenda Nabukenya’s supporters who were chanting, “I was beaten on the head with a baton by a policeman as I recorded the jubilating supporters of the opposition candidate, at about 01:30am. After the police hit me, I shouted for help as I bled profusely, but about seven other policemen kept pushing me and other people away. I was assisted by a fellow journalist who works for a local TV station.” Zziwa said

Zziwa says that he was dressed in a KFM t-shirt, with his station Identity Card and carried his recorder, which were all visible to the police. He told HRNJ-Uganda that he is experiencing severe headache and dizziness due to the beating.

On 19th/May/2014, Brian Luwaga, a journalist with the Uganda Radio Network (URN) was allegedly assaulted by the Police Director of Operations Grace Turyagumanawe as he tried to interview the police spokesperson for Savanah region, Lameck Kigozi.

“We are very concerned that the police are targeting journalists covering opposition related political activities. We challenge the Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura to come out and take action against his errant police officers who are increasingly assaulting journalists on duty. We however commend the thoughtful police officer who provided ‘first-aid’ treatment to the journalist before he was rushed to hospital” Said the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala.

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Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) is a network of human rights journalists in Uganda working towards enhancing the promotion, protection and respect of human rights through defending and building the capacities of journalists, to effectively exercise their constitutional rights and fundamental freedoms for collective campaigning through the media.