A NBS TV journalist has today been beaten by UPDF soldiers, nine days after the army apologised for a similar incident.
Joshua Mujunga was covering a demonstration in Kamwokya, Kampala, from 8.30am before trouble began.
His employer, NBS said: NBS journalist Joshua Mujunga, has faced the wrath of the UPDF this morning. The video journalist was beaten while covering a riot that started in Kamwokya.”
Speaking from his hospital bed in Kampala Hospital, Joshua said he covered the protests, which the police later quelled, without incident until a military jeep arrived carrying armed and uniformed men in UPDF fatigues.
“When they noticed I was taking pictures, they jumped off [the vehicle] and came after me. I tried to run up to Kira road [but] they surrounded me. They started beating me all over the body…” Joshua, said, speaking to NBS TV.
The protests in Kamwokya were sprked of by ast night’s re-arresting of tortured Kyadondo East legislator MP Robert Kyagulanyi (alias Bobi Wine) at the airport by security agents.
On August 13, several journalists were beaten and arrested as they covered the last day of campaigns for the Arua Municipality MP seat by election. They were later released.
On August 20, Reuters journalist James Akena was captured on camera being beaten by UPDF soldiers as he covered the protests in down town Kampala. The protests were in response to the arrests and detention of several MPs including MP Kyagulangi in Arua. Mr Akena has since opened a case against the officers.
The next day, Defence spokesperson Brig. Richard Karemiire condemned the attack by the officers.
In a press statement, he said the “UPDF wishes to express its displeasure over such behaviors by those individuals, and as a result, the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) has ordered their arrest and punishment.”
“…we wish to reiterate our strong commitment to maintain a strong partnership with the media fraternity in the course of executing all our core functions as laid out in the constitution.”
Journalists and media rights defenders are now wondering if the army played lip service on its promise.
Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda, coordinator Robert Ssempala said they had given the army the benefit of the doubt after their apology but the recent beating of the NBS journalist calls for new course of action.
He said a meeting with members of the media fraternity had been convened this afternoon to chart a way forward.
“We are in very trying times. Journalists are not at ease. We are under attack, especially from the army,” he said, speaking to NBS.
Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo said beating of the NBS journalist will be investigated and the culpable officers punished.
“Every reported matter of mistreatment, brutality or high handedness shall be investigated and punished,” he tweeted.
Photo via NBS TV