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Journalists Want IGP Held Accountable For Their Beating.

Written by on April 7, 2021

The Human Rights Network of Journalists wants the Inspector General of Police Ochola to be held accountable for his statements on beating journalists.

In January, Ochola said that security agencies will continue beating journalists purposely to deter them from going where there is danger.

Ochola who was speaking at the Joint election security and preparedness briefing said he was unapologetic that journalists had been beaten during their line of duty.

According to Ochola, journalists often refuse to follow guidance by security forces, a reason they end up being beaten purposely for their safety.

Media organisations and bodies asked Ochola to withdraw statements he made against journalists.

The Executive Director of Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ), Robert Sempala said that Ochola’s statement led to an increase in cases against journalists. Sempala told Members of Parliament on the Human Rights Committee that they registered 174 cases of human rights violations against journalists during the electoral process. He said that this were an increase from 163 and 165 in 2018 and 2019 respectively.

He says that most of the cases were of security personnel beating journalists and assaulting, while 29 journalists were arrested in total. He called for security personnel to be trained on how the media operates.

“…to immediately introduce a training module that will incorporate something to do with media because we think that the journalists continue to be beaten because of sheer ignorance of the critical role that media plays in a democracy,” he said.

Some of the Journalists who were assaulted appeared before the committee and asked for compensation for all the items that were destroyed by security forces.

Derrick Wandera, a reporter with Daily monitor, said that there is a need to compensate several journalists who faced the wrath of security personnel during the elections.

Moses Waiswa from Busoga One FM told the committee that he was beaten by security personnel during the campaigns. He says that he sought treatment from different health facilities that charged him exorbitantly.

The committee promised to probe the matter and report to Parliament.

Violent attacks against journalists were common during the campaigns. Several journalists especially those who covered the campaign trail of opposition presidential candidates suffered grave bodily injuries as a result of attacks by security personnel.

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