5 March 2019, Kampala
African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) protests the continued detention of journalist and filmmaker Moses Bwayo. Mr. Bwayo was yesterday, 4 March, remanded to Luzira Prison on account of there being inadequate time to scrutinise his bail application. Mr Bwayo was arrested on 24 February while filming a documentary on Mr Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine — a musician and member of parliament who also is the leader of People Power, a political pressure group. The documentary was commissioned by a UK based firm, Southern Films. He was released on 26 February on police bond. He was produced in court yesterday with eight others to answer to charges of illegal assembly only for the group to be sent to prison on remand. The group is expected to return to court on 6 March for a decision on bail.
ACME calls for the unconditional release of Mr. Bwayo and his co-accused, who in our view should not have been arrested in the first place. “We urge police to maintain an environment where journalists and Ugandans generally can carry on their work without intimidation and harassment,” said Dr Peter G. Mwesige, the executive director of ACME. “The continued clampdown on freedom of expression and of the media only undermines our young and fragile democracy.”
ABOUT AFRICAN CENTRE FOR MEDIA EXCELLENCE: ACME is a Kampala-based independent, non-profit professional organisation committed to excellence in journalism and mass communication in Africa. The organisation fulfils its mandate through refresher training for mid-career journalists; media literacy training for civil society organisations, corporate companies and others; media research; free expression advocacy; and media monitoring. For further information, please contact Dr Peter Mwesige on +256-784-471-527; email@example.com
One of the biggest challenges in life is personal bias which leads to tunnel vision. It is tough to remain objective especially in our very African society. Indeed as the Arab says, “me against my brother. Me and my brother against my cousin. My brother, my cousin and I against my clansman. My brother, my cousin, my clansman and I against my neighbour.”. So on it goes.
Take me for example. If you have words with anyone in my family, you incur my wrath. It doesn’t matter whatsoever the level of foolishment my kin may have perpetuated, I am going to die for that person.
This however doesn’t stop me from some introspection on the inherent bias I might have in such circumstances. Indeed I might go so far as to rebuke my kinsman in the absence of external ears.
Whenever I read acme coming out swinging lately, I seem to see blind support of their kinsperson. I once in my high handed quixotic manner accused acme of pandering to grant funders. I might have been wrong and I apologise.
If we look critically at the circumstances and the, “released unconditionally”, call, it inspires, it provokes, it calls for attention. What happened? What is the law? Is it true govt can be high handed? Is it true the regime is repressive? Do the previous ques9hold true in the current circumstances?
I have seen some of the most clever journalism by mwendas people around the bou saga. Where they wove tertiary narratives around circumstantial and often unsubstantiated rumours to create a picture that sold more papers. I admired it but also was disappointed.
Was bwayo filming a music video or a “mocumentary” (pardon my sarcasm and inate bias)? Is the label journalist a papal bull that absolves the holder of all actions in pursuit of this purported heavenly cause? TRUTH TO POWER!!!
I read acme. Not by choice lately, I want to spare you my ire and vitriol, but because I am so plugged in that often even when I unplug, some things still leak into my daily media consciousness. I found no story of the facts my elder is basing on to decree the release of Saint bwayo of nsambya. What are the facts? Because this diseased (festering) govt is high handed, does that invalidate everything they do? Is this a case of, “better inside pissing out”, where its all fair as long as it hurts those we despise?
Acme, appeal to better journalism. Demonstrate how the government is wrong. Show us. Convince us. But please do not with one hand accuse while stabbing savagely with the other. The exact same thing you say the government does, you too do. Except they have the guns and you have the pens. You would have me wary of a dictator, instead I am wary of all dictators.