The Independent Online Journalists Association-Uganda (indoja-U) , an umbrella body for online publishers in Uganda has condemned the continued harassment of both online and mainstream media.
This is after Police arrested British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC)-Africa journalists, and Vivian Nakaliika, wife to NBS TV’s investigative journalist and news anchor Solomon Sserwanja on Wednesday night February 06, 2019.
The arrested include Godfrey Badyebe, Kasim Muhammad and Rashid Kaweesa, together with their driver, Shafiq, who was also detained along with them, and are currently at Central Police Station (CPS) Kampala.
Meanwhile, the whereabouts of Solomon Sserwanja remain unknown as police is still hunting for him for arrest.
In a statement dated February 8, Andrew Irumba Katusabe, the indoja-U President said whereas police alleges that the above named were arrested while trying to illegally buy government labeled classified drugs in Makindye areas, the official statement issued by their affiliate employer, Next Media Services refutes the allegations with contempt and maintains that they (journalists) were in fact, investigating the same illegal act by some government officials who have been selling the said drugs, and that the journalists were in their 3rdweek into the investigations and were to run the story soon.
“Since there are two sides of the story, this remains a subject of investigation to ascertain the facts.
For the mean time, Indoja-U would like to call on Police and other sister security organs to respect the Rights of the journalists and avoid acts that deprive them their well-deserved Rights and dignity.
We ask police to give journalists police bond as they do their investigations, or be presented before a competent court and charge them.
Without fulfilling the above, we demand for the immediate release of the said journalists,” Irumba said.
Indoja-U also decries the continued harassment of its members.
“We also condemn in the strongest terms possible the continued harassment of online journalists by Police through unending and uncalled for summonses,” Indoja-U statement reads.