21 April 2020
African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) is gravely concerned by reports doing the rounds on social media and other platforms about the arrest and detention of NBS Television anchor and programme host Samson Kasumba.
Mr Kasumba’s colleagues and other journalists have quoted the police as saying he is being held in relation to “subversive activities”. Some have said the journalist is being investigated in relation to possible charges of treason while others have mentioned sedition, an archaic provision that was struck off our Penal Code Act nearly 10 years ago.
Whereas it should be somewhat comforting for those in the media (if it is true) that the police have said Mr Kasumba’s arrest is not in any way connected to his work as a journalist, we are still concerned by the chilling effect this is nonetheless going to have on the right to free expression, especially of journalists.
This is the worst time for those whose job is to provide information to Ugandans, facilitate public debate, and hold the powerful to account to feel threatened by actions of the coercive arm of the state. The media is a critical ally at this time when our country like the rest of the world is directing all its resources at the Covid-19 pandemic.
We join others who have called upon the police to conduct a speedy, transparent, and legal investigation into Mr Kasumba’s alleged activities while at same time respecting all his rights.
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 G. Mwesige on +256-772-313-067; firstname.lastname@example.org