Senegal: CPJ urges Ugandan authorities to stop intimidating journalists

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) - Ugandan authorities should cease attempting to intimidate journalists in an effort to keep them from covering opposition protests, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has said.

This was contained in a statement made available to PANA in Dakar, Senegal, on Tuesday following a Ugandan Minister's warning to the media not to cover opposition protests.

According to the media freedom watchdog, Ugandan Minister for Information and National Guidance, Jim Muhwezi, on May 5 warned journalists that any news outlet that reported on opposition protests over the conduct of February's presidential elections could face closure.

Uganda's political opposition has called for nationwide protests to mark the inauguration ceremony for President Yoweri Museveni's fifth term, scheduled to take place in Kampala on 12 May.

"All live broadcast of defiance activities should stop. Any media house that continues to cover them risks having their licenses revoked," Muhwezi, a retired military officer, was quoted as saying.

The head of Uganda's Communications Commission was also quoted as having said that those who cover the protests on social media could also be punished.

"The Ugandan government must stop trying to bully the media into silence," CPJ Deputy Executive Director, Robert Mahoney, remarked. "Political protests are news and the press has a duty to the public to report on them."

The statement pointed out that Uganda's opposition Forum for Democratic Change, citing local and international observers, alleged that the elections were marked by irregularities and should be held again.

Ugandan authorities said the poll was fair, and in late April obtained a court order declaring the opposition protests illegal.

CPJ said its research has found that attacks against reporters covering the election have produced a climate of fear among Ugandan journalists.
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 10May2016

10 may 2016 13:44:51

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