By Robert Ssempala
Many Journalists covering the return of the Kyaddondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine have been arrested and their gadgets and work IDs among others confiscated by the security.
Those who have fallen victims include the HRNJ-Uganda Secretary General Henry Lubulwa who works with URN, Joel Senyonyi of NTV, Diana Kibuuka of CBS FM, Moses Kyeyune, Sirajje Kiberu of Kingdom TV, Eve Mugganga of Daily Monitor and Radio One, Sematimba Bwejjire of Radio Simba, Charles Katabalwa of Radio Sapientia, Luwemba Johnson of New Vision,among others.
“We have been arrested and now at the Aviation Police in Entebbe” Lubulwa and Diana Kibuuka posted on their Facebook walls.
Meanwhile, Radio Sapientia’ mid morning radio program called Ekitanganza hosted by Richard Lubwama was stopped half way by the Uganda Communications Commission(UCC) who stormed the Nsambya based station in the UCC van. It was blamed for commenting on Bobi Wine’ return.
UCC had earlier banned all live coverage of the return of the legislator from the US from where he has been receiving treatment after he was tortured by the army in Arua when arrested along with other legislators and opposition politicians. It threatened to revoke linsence s of defying media houses.
The media environment in the country has continued to shrink since the recent Arua by-elections.
A number of foreign correspondents have been denield accredition foe over a year under unclear circumstances.
HRNJ-Uganda calls on the government to allow the media to do it’s work as mandated in the Constitution and other international laws to which Uganda is a party. We call upon the unconditional release of all the journalists and also let media houses cover the news of Bobi Wine without undue interference, since his return is not illegal.
We also appeal to the journalists to remain vigilant and professional in the work at such heightened political situations.
Robert Ssempala is the Executive Director, HRNJ-UGANDA