By Barbara Akunda
“We all have our likes and our dislikes. But when we are doing news, when we are doing the front-page news, not the back page, not the op-ed pages, but when we are doing the daily news, covering politics, it is our duty to be sure that we do not permit our prejudices to show. That is simply basic journalism.” Walter Cronkite.
Watching the recently released documentary by BBC Africa, it is very clear the reporter couldn’t hide his/her bias and prejudice against Ugandan security forces, deliberately undermining their efforts to keep the country safe and peaceful.
The reporter ignored the acts of violent protesters who were attacking innocent citizens, undressing women, and attacking security forces. The security forces were on the streets to stop these barbaric attacks on civilians and indeed they restored peace in the city which deserves to be appreciated.
It is also very wrong to create a deceptive narrative that Bobi Wine was against an old regime. In Uganda our government runs using two major sections; the technocrats and the politicians.
The technocrats are professionals serving in different agencies on contracts of a given period with a retirement age while politicians are elected by citizens at the end of every 5 years. In every election cycle, over 70% of the politicians lose their political offices creating way for new leaders. Therefore, Uganda has been changing leadership, getting new leaders serving in different positions and actually Bobi Wine was also part of this government serving in parliament since 2017.
Similarly, journalists while reporting about security incidents in Uganda, don’t consider the security situation of our region or threats posed by our enemies and active rebel and terrorist groups in the region who may penetrate such violent incidents like riots and escalate them into war or insurrection as we have seen it happen in different parts of the world. They never mention incidents where police has been attacked and injured in some incidents killed like during the walk to work protests by Kiiza Besigye.
In one of the incidents where Kamuyat was hit by a stray bullet, one clearly sees that it was in the middle of a very violent scene where violent protesters had put fire in the middle of the road blocking traffic in the city centre while they attacked police and innocent citizens. Two protesters are seen throwing unknown objects at security forces and citizens using the road.
In such incidents where police may not understand the objects being thrown at them or mistake them for weapons they react back in self defence. The media doesn’t mention that or caution the protesters to follow the law and not confront police risking their life and that of innocent citizens.
If BBC Africa wanted their story to be impactful on the community they should have addressed the cause of the violence and riots to avoid similar incidents from happening ever again. They should have talked about the politicians and individuals behind these violent riots, they should have assessed businesses looted and destroyed by these rioters.
We well know the role played by biased media houses in amplifying false propaganda against countries like Iraq, Libya, Syria, but now as citizens of those countries are dying and suffering journalists who wrote stories that justified attacks on those countries are living their luxurious lifestyles in Europe, our security forces have a responsibility to protect our country and will continue to do so, under the laws of our country.
The writer is a Ugandan student of international relations