Journalists John Cliff Wamala, Geofrey Twesigye both of NTV Uganda; Josephine Namakumbi of NBS TV, and Shamim Nabakooza from Record TV, have dragged the government and military police commander Lt. Col. Napoleone Namanya to court, seeking compensation for violation of their freedom of expression and of the press.
The four journalists were part of a group of eight members of the press who were battered by military police under the command of Lt. Col. Namanya when they went to cover National Unity Platform president, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, as he presented his petition at the United Nations offices in Kololo last month.
The journalists through their lawyers, Kiiza Mugisha and Company Advocates, now want court to declare that their mistreatment was a violent threat and/or violation of their freedom of expression and media freedom guaranteed by Article 29 of the 1995 Constitution of Uganda as amended.
The journalists said in their suit that Lt. Col. Namanya should be personally held liable for his misconduct.
“As a participant, the first respondent (Lt. Col. Namanya) is personally liable for his misconduct and that of the violent group he commanded, and let loose upon the applicants on February 17th,” the suit reads in part.
They also want court to declare that the beating, dispersing and chasing of journalists constituted a threat and/or violation of the freedom of expression and media freedom that is guaranteed by the constitution.