Ahead of the general election on January 14, members of the Ugandan media fraternity are refusing to cover the news and conferences of the country’s security services in protest of violence meted to journalists by the security services.
On Monday in the capital Kampala, journalists walked out of a press conference called by the security corps to address recent issues of violence in the country.
A reporter for one of the largest private media organizations in the country was quoted by Africanews saying: “We have resolved to stop covering security agencies and the Uganda Media Center, which is the center for journalists in Uganda. Reason: these guys are continuing to beat us, harass us in the name of telling us to be patriotic, which is a partisan move”.
Last Sunday, two journalists, including Ashraf Kasirye, a member of presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu‘s (Bobi Wine) media campaign team, were shot. The incident came about in an altercation between members of the security forces on one hand and Wine’s team and journalists on the other.
The other organization accused by the journalists, the Uganda Media Center (UMC), is the hub of the state media apparatuses and is run by the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance. According to the journalists, the UMC has been urging and forcing a narrative in support of the government and the security forces.
But Uganda’s Chief Commisar of the People’s Defense Forces, Brigadier-General Henry Matsiko, has blamed the “unnecessary unfortunate incidents” on the lack of “professionalism” on the part of journalists.
President Yoweri Museveni, a former soldier who led the overthrow of dictator Idi Amin, is seeking to elongate his 34-year reign in spite of calls from within the continent and outside for him to relinquish power. His closes rival, Bobi Wine, a musician-turned-politician, has alleged that Museveni is behind the violence against Wine’s supporters in the lead-up to the presidential poll.