Government spokesperson and Uganda Media Centre boss Ofwono Opondo has said that just like any other job, journalism too has occupational hazards and being beaten is one of them.
On Wednesday, at least 8 journalists were beaten by military officers while covering National Unity Platform president Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine’s petition to the UN Human Rights Office.
Speaking about the incident on NBS Television’s political talk show ‘NBS Frontline’ where he is a panelist, Opondo said every job has occupational hazards whether one is a politician or policeman or anything else.
“If you are a journalist covering riots or controversial stories, you are likely to be beaten, you are likely to be thrown out or you are likely to be denied information,” Opondo said.
Opondo said that journalists can be beaten or mistreated by any other institution and therefore the media should not try to attach their mistreatment on only the security forces.
“In the outgoing Parliament and the last one, we saw Parliament throwing out journalists so it is not only security forces that mistreat journalists,” Opondo said.
Yesterday afternoon, the CDF of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces David Muhoozi apologised for the incident and said going forward, military officers will be trained on how deal with the media without wrecking havoc or beating them.
Opondo during the Frontline however said that this will definitely not be the last time that journalists are beaten.
“Each time we conduct an operation, we go, review, and correct mistakes. This is not the first time journalists have been beaten and it won’t be the last either. The most important thing is to accept the mistakes and deal with them,” Opondo said.
It should be remembered that in December, Inspector General of Police Okoth Martin Ochola said that journalists are beaten to prevent them from going in areas where there is trouble.