S sen­ti­ments are not help­ing

The East African - - NEWS -

be­ing be­hind Mr Kyag­u­lanyi’s po­lit­i­cal strat­egy and in­ter­na­tional me­dia ap­pear­ances, was on the other hand denied a work per­mit.

But Mr Sem­pala says treat­ment of local me­dia has been more vi­cious.

“The treat­ment of jour­nal­ists in re­cent months has a more vi­o­lent twist to it. It is also well tar­geted,” he said.

Pre­vi­ously, Mr Sem­pala said it was easy to en­counter a num­ber cases of mis­taken iden­tity and ran­dom beat­ings but this is no longer the case. He ex­plained that in the past, gov­ern­ment se­cu­rity agents tar­geted jour­nal­ists who were not well known or those who worked for ob­scure me­dia houses. Lately, he said, well known jour­nal­ists were be­ing tar­geted cit­ing the case of a Nile Broad­cast­ing Services jour­nal­ist who hav­ing gone into hid­ing, was tricked through her edi­tor to meet se­cu­rity op­er­a­tives.

Over the past two months, Mr Sem­pala says that 29 jour­nal­ists have been tor­tured, ar­rested, beaten and had their equipment con­fis­cated. He says that there is a pat­tern to the at­tacks, and it hap­pens when­ever the pres­i­dent Mu­sev­eni crit­i­cizes the me­dia. He said that gen­er­ally the pres­i­dent had a ten­dency to ma­lign the pro­fes­sion with ut­ter­ances that would cause them to be treated as ru­mour mon­gers. But this year, his state­ments have been threat­en­ing.

Dur­ing the bud­get speech for ex­am­ple, Pres­i­dent Mu­sev­eni won­dered why the Aga Khan was look­ing on as his me­dia house the Daily Mon­i­tor ma­ligned Uganda, a coun­try from which he makes money. On other oc­ca­sions he has tar­geted NTV, also from the same sta­ble.

Ac­cord­ing to Mr Sem­pala, the pres­i­dent’s com­ments makes it dif­fi­cult to prac­tice jour­nal­ism in the coun­try.

Pic­ture: AFP

Po­lice keep vigil in Kam­pala last year as jour­nal­ists protest gov­ern­ment ha­rass­ment of me­dia houses.

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