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Uganda Human Rights Commission Asks Assaulted Journalists to File Complaints

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uganda human rights commission asks assaulted journalists to file complaints
uganda human rights commission asks assaulted journalists to file complaints
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The Chairperson of the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), Mariam Wangadya, has called upon journalists who experienced assaults while covering the arrival of National Unity Platform (NUP) leader Robert Kyagulanyi, commonly known as Bobi Wine, to officially report their complaints to the commission.

Speaking at the Jinja Regional Human Rights Office in Jinja City on Friday, Wangadya emphasized the importance of journalists freely registering complaints regarding human rights violations. She assured that the commission would conduct thorough investigations into the reported incidents.

According to the Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ), over 14 journalists were detained, while several others were physically assaulted, and their electronic devices, including phones and cameras, were confiscated during a military-led operation in Katabi along Entebbe Road and Mpererwe in Kampala.

Among the affected journalists are Joseph Balikuddembe (CBS), Julius Kitone (NBS TV), Isano Francis (NBS TV), Jjengo Eria (Baba TV), Yiga Nasser (Baba TV), Musana Robert (Nexus Media), Richard Olwenyi (NBS TV), Kyambadde Emma (Lujjuliro Online), David Tamale (Bukedde TV), Mugenyi Ronald, Swaburah Owomukisa, Kenneth Kaweesa (NBS TV), Moses Katumba (NBS TV), and Mariam Nagadya (Baba TV), among others.

Although these journalists were subsequently released, some alleged that security personnel had physically assaulted them during their detainment.

Patrick Onyango, the Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson, explained that the security personnel mistook the journalists for NUP supporters due to their lack of identification.

Wangadya stated that she has yet to receive a comprehensive report detailing the events that transpired during the incidents.

However, she expressed her disappointment regarding journalists who tend to withdraw their complaints from the commission prematurely, often before investigations reach a conclusion. Wangadya emphasized the commission’s commitment to peaceful resolutions and hoped that journalists would remain engaged in the cases even after reaching settlements with the alleged offenders.

Jackie Nambogga, the chairperson of the Busoga Media Association (BUSOMA), urged journalists to take an active role in pursuing legal action against those responsible for their mistreatment. Nambogga believed that successful prosecutions of human rights violators, whether through the courts of law or UHRC tribunals, would serve as a deterrent against future acts of torture on journalists.