The media industry in Uganda is facing security attacks as police and other security organs have started brutalizing media practioners covering presidential campaigns.
As theircommon vice, today, security attacked three journalists who were covering presidential campaigns for the National Unity Platform (NUP) candidate, Hon. Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert aka Bobi Wine in Lwengo district.
The brutalized journalists are Daniel Lutaaya, NBS Television senior reporter sustained injuries as police dispersed Kyagulanyi supporters, Ali Mivule, NTV’s reporter who was injured by a tear gas canister and Ghetto TV Online Journalist, Ali Said Ashraf Kasirye, who was allegedly shot by a bullet.
According to reports by the NBS TV, police shot at a Boda Boda on which Lutaaya was riding by the time of attacks.
“Lutaaya was riding on a Boda Boda that was shot at during the mayhem in Masaka earlier today,” NBS television posted on Facebook.
Both Lutaaya and Mivule have since been admitted at Masaka regional referral hospital where they are receiving treatment.
Further reports indicate that Ashraf Kasirye, the Ghetto TV journalist has been transfered to Kampala Hospital and close sources in the NUP party say he is a live but still in a state of comma.
Earlier on, police Spokesperson, Fred Enanga released a statement stating that Kasirye sustained blunt force injuries
“Tear gas was used to quell the violence and journalists were regrettably caught up during the process of dispersing the violent group. Notably among them was a Ghetto TV crew member identified as Ashraf Kasirye, who sustained blunt force injuries above the left eye allegedly from a canister. The victim was rushed to Masaka Referral Hospital for medical attention. He remains stable but in serious condition and on transfer to Kampala for better management,” Enanga said
He added that the violent confrontations at Kyabakuza between security operatives and Kyagulanyi supporters were a result of defiance by NUP supporters to use the route plan agreed upon to Kyotera district where he (Kyagulanyi) was supposed to campaign today. This according to Enanga forced security to spray pepper to disperse violent NUP supporters injuring some journalists.
The fracases have attracted much reactions from the public domain tasking the state to stop violation of press freedom and human rights.
Nsubuga N. Ssekikubo, Journalism & Mass communication lecturer and a reknown sociopolitical analyst called the incidents an attack on the fourth estate.
Mathias Mpuga, the NUP Deputy President for central region who could not differ with Nsubuga asked members of the public reject any state attempts against the media.
“I would like to call upon all Ugandans to reject any efforts to make this country darker by targeting the media.” Hon. Mpuga said.
In addition, sections of journalists in the mainstream and online media have run to their social media platforms decrying the continued police brutality targeting journalists while executing their duties.
Nsubuga was however quick to caution media practitioners whom he refers to as masqueraders to jeep at the back of their minds the ethical standards of conduct whenever sharing and distributing any contents for public consumption.
“I have seen very devastating images making rounds on social media. I understand the need to expose the atrocities being committed by the regime, but this should not call for abuse of ethical standards protecting the audience, from the harm inflicted on them by such images. To the masqueraders, and the citizen journalists, the profession has canons, please labor to find out!” warns Nsubuga.
In related news, ParrotsUg learned about the death of Kyagulanyi’s bodyguard, Frank Ssenteza who was knocked dead by a military van as Kyagulanyi and other members of his team drove to Kampala to check on Ashraf.
The deceased was according to sources knocked dead around Busega areas.
This has prompted Kyagulanyi to suspend his political campaigns to allow the party hold internal consultations to decide on their next move.