Masaka, 22nd/June/2012; A Masaka-based Magistrate has apologized for arresting and detaining a journalist early this week.Doreen Ajuna a Grade One Magistrate arrested and detained Namuwonge Hahifah, a reporter with the government media outlets; Bukedde Television, Bukedde Newspaper and Bukedde FM on June 19th during a court session involving a Masaka-based business tycoon accused of robbery and murder.
Namuwonge is the Vice President of the Masaka-based South Buganda Journalists’ Association (SOBUJA). Ajuna ordered for her detention after suspecting her of taking notes during an open court session at the Masaka High Court. Ajuna admitted to wrong doing and said it was a mistake bound to happen to all human beings. “Am a human being I can also make errors. I did not know she was a journalist.” Ajuna was quoted at a reconciliation meeting.
The meeting was convened at chambers of the Masaka Chief Magistrate Boniface Wamala who also apologized on behalf of the Judiciary. He under scored the importance of the media in informing the public, and therefore a need to strengthen working relations with the Judiciary.It was attended SOBUJA leaders and members including Sadab Kittata Kaaya, Pascal Mweruka, Ssozi Ssekimpi Lyazi, Margaret Kayondo, Davis Buyondo and Jimmy Ssekabiito among others.
Namuwonge and Ajuna shook hands as a reconciliation gesture. Ajuna professed to being a Human Rights activist who would facilitate at journalists’ trainings if called upon.“We welcome this Magistrate’s admission of wrong doing, and we wish to encourage the police and other non-state actors to emulate her. The media should be encourage and supported all those in public offices such that it can carry on with its cardinal role of informing the public and be able to hold them accountable. We also urge the judiciary to put in place clear guidelines to safeguard journalists who go court to cover news.” said HRNJ-Uganda Programme Coordinator Wokulira Ssebaggala.