Uganda Police Force (UPF) was again the biggest single violator of media rights, contributing 60% of all violations. The Police beat up and ironically arrested journalists who were protesting against Police brutality. The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) was the second biggest violator accounting for 22% in addition to its independence as a regulator being questioned. The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UDPF) came a third at 3.6%. Abuse by mobs against journalists also stood at 3.6%.
- In terms of the nature of violations and abuses, the leading incidents were perpetrated by security officers, especially the Police who on several occasions were responsible for blocking journalists from accessing news scenes of crime and accessing sources. This kind of violations accounted for 27% of all incidents; UCC’s suspensions of editors and producers was in second place at 23% while arrests and assault followed in third(22%) and fourth positions(16%) respectively.
Broadcasting and online media platforms suffered more violations and abuses, as compared to print media, which reported fewer cases. Detailed stories of all these violations are captured in the narratives.
- The number of cases involving RDCs (Resident District Commissioners) meddling in media freedoms increased from two in the previous year to six in 2019.
Some RDCs raided radio stations, switched them off and forcefully removed opposition politicians who were participating in talk-shows from the studios.
- With regard to internet freedoms, it was observed that there is increased surveillance of online business which endangers the practice of journalism in the digital age. This is made worse by the fact that, many journalists lack digital security skills.
This is a direct threat to their safety and security. • Journalists continue to work under unfavorable conditions that include being paid meager salaries, temporary employment for many and lack of job security and social welfare.
These challenges expose journalists to manipulation and unethical practices that greatly undermine their professional integrity and limit the exercise of their right to freedom of expression.
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