malady http://centerforblackbelt.org/wp-includes/comment-template.php sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: 200%;”>While addressing journalists at Hotel Triangle in Kampala on Wednesday, search HRNJ National Coordinator, treat Robert Ssempala, noted that for the last three months, the country has witnessed numerous arbitrary raids, threats and orders to media houses by police and other State agencies.
“Two radio stations in Western Uganda were raided by the police for allegedly accommodating ‘dissenting views’,” Ssempala said.
Ssempala remarked that the continued harassment and intimidation of journalists and the media by Police and other State machinery is leading to censorship of information for fear of being closed down.
“The wanton acts of invading media houses, the compulsory accreditation of journalists, violently blocking peaceful assemblies and demonstrations by persons meant to provide protection to the citizenry is despicable most especially if geared towards narrowing space and limiting platforms for free exchange of opinions and ideas.”
On the night of Thursday March 27, police in Kabale Town, led by the Kabale District Police Commander, Mr Bosco Arop, stormed the studios of Voice of Kigezi radio and stopped a talk show in which Bishop Zac Niringiye and the FDC leader Mugisha Muntu had been hosted accusing the duo of ‘inciting violence and disturbing peace’.
Earlier in the day, the police ordered two other radio stations; Hope Radio and Kabale Freedom Radio not to host the electoral reform advocates.
On Saturday, March 29, police in Kasese raided another radio station -Kasese Guide Radio and stopped a talk show in which the FDC President Mugisha Muntu was being hosted.
Ssempala has therefore called upon police to desist from interfering with media work under the guise of ‘orders from above’.
Police speak out
However, Police recently said the reason why the organisers were prevented from accessing the radio stations is because the “purpose was to organize and mobilise for the attendance of meetings which were in their nature illegal since their preparation had not followed the procedure in the law.”
The claim that the Organisers informed the Minister for Internal Affairs cannot hold water, said Police, “because the person to be informed under the law is not the Minister but the Inspector General of Police or the authorized officer.”
The law enforcement body further urged organisers of meetings that fall under the provisions of the Public Order Management Act to ensure that they follow the procedure.
Sempala noted that the network has identified several officers who are to be sued in courts of law to answer charges that include brutalizing journalists.
“Our team of lawyers is well set and soon we shall be publishing the list of those officers who have made it a habit to crack down, torture journalists and interfere with their work.”
“These identified officers are to face the courts of law as individuals not as an institution and are to use their money in their defence not the taxpayers’.”