Journalists will later today, Monday march to Naguru to petition the Inspector General of Police, Martin Okoth Ochola over brutality meted out to them by police officers while covering protests by Makerere University students last week.
Journalists deployed to cover the protests by students against the 15 percent tuition increment were the latest victims of police brutality with Daily Monitor’s Alex Esagala, Godfrey Tumwesigye(NTV) , Chris Ssemakula(BBS TV) and Lawrence Kitatta from Bukedde newspaper falling prey to the police officers.
The journalists later agreed to boycott all Police functions until the matter of brutality is resolved.
On Monday, three organisations, Uganda Journalists Association, Human Rights Network for Journalists and Uganda Parliamentary Press Association will march to Naguru and petition the police chief over the matter.
“We agreed to boycott their activities so as to end brutality on journalists. They do them without any given reason. We are marching to police headquarters to hand him a petition to ask him ensure the brutality stops,” HRNJ national coordinator Robert Ssempala says.
UJA president, Bashir Kazibwe last week said it is appalling that after brutalizing journalists, Police comes out to request them to offer publicity for their activities.
“We should not continue giving them publicity when at the same time they are at the helm of brutalizing, beating, maiming and nearly killing members of the fourth estate,”Kazibwe said.
On Wednesday, for a second consecutive day, journalists were assaulted by police officers while covering the protests at the Ivory Tower.
Showing wounds all over their bodies depicting the horror meted out on them, journalists said police officers had used gun buts and throwing teargas canisters at them.
However, Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Patrick Onyango claimed that journalists were beaten by plain-clothed people not known to them(police).
“I am not aware of that incident, and it was not brought to my attention. The incident of some people who are in plain clothes, I am not aware of them and I don’t know them and we don’t know them,” he said.
Police has for a number of times brutalized journalists in various parts of the country.
In 2018, journalists covering the case of former Buyende DPC, ASP Muhammad Kirumira were badly beaten by counter-terrorism police officers at Naguru.
In one incident, a female journalist who was pregnant was kicked and fell down but efforts by fellow journalists to help her out were frustrated by police officers.
In 2017, journalists celebrating the World Press Freedom Day were badly assaulted and others arrested by police in Kampala.
The Inspector General of Police has always emphasized respect for human rights by police officers but the call has been ignored.