Soldiers Beat Journalists Again

Yesterday, members of Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) beat a pregnant journalist alongside another reporter just weeks after friendly matches between the UPDF and Media Personalities which was in a bid to plaster the bleeding relationship between journalists and the armed forces.

Ms Teddy Nakaliga, a reporter with NTV and Spark TV, and Mr Amon Kayanja of Salt TV, were assaulted by Military Police personnel while covering a demonstration by residents protesting a two-week power blackout in Kayunga Village, Wakiso District.

The soldiers also destroyed the reporters’ equipment, including mobile phones and cameras.

Residents had blocked a section of Hoima Road and police and soldiers were sent to clear it. 

Yesterday’s incident comes after another NTV reporter, Enock Matovu, was beaten by soldiers and admitted to Mityana Hospital with serious injuries on Thursday last week.

The soldiers also destroyed the reporters’ equipment, including mobile phones and cameras.

Mr Joseph Beyanga, the secretary general of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), said his organisation believes in proactive engagements to resolve issues, adding that he was engaging the Chief of Defense Forces, Gen David Muhoozi’s office on the matter. 

“But I believe our memorandum of understanding (MoU) is intact and what is most important now is to have the contents communicated to everyone at every level, all the way to the lowest ranks. If violent behaviours continue after that communication has been done, we will go back to the drawing board,” Mr Beyanga said. 

On April 16, at the UPDF headquarters in Mbuya, the military and NAB signed a memorandum of understanding in which the two parties agreed to treat each other with dignity, be mindful of the rights of each other as enshrined in various laws and the Constitution.

 “Both parties shall develop a training plan to sensitise and train journalists on how operations should be covered and for the UPDF, on how journalists and media practitioners should be treated and handled during operations,” reads in part the agreement signed by Gen Muhoozi for the UPDF and NAB chairperson Kin Kariisa.

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