Two journalists in Wakiso district are nursing injuries after being battered by military police officers while covering protests by residents of Kayunga on Wednesday over the prolonged power blackout in their area.
They are Amon Kayanja from Salt Media and Teddy Nakaliga from Spark/NTV, which are under Nation Media Group-NMG. The two also had their equipment destroyed by the military police officers.
Amon Kayanja explains that he received a tip from his friend about the protest by residents about the power blackout, which has lasted for two weeks and rushed to report for his media house.
He, however, says that as he was covering the protest, a group of military officers armed with firearms and batons started beating him asking him why he was covering the protest and ordered him to delete the footage from his camera.
Teddy Nakaliga, a journalist with Spark / NTV says that she was heading to Wakiso district to cover a story on the launch of the human right report when she stumbled in the protesters and decided to cover their story. She, however, says that four military police officer charged at her and started beating her.
Robert Ssempala, the Executive Director of Human Rights Network for Journalist Uganda-HRNJ says that he found the assaulted journalists at Kayunga trading center being helped by good Samaritans and intervened to find out what had happened to them.
Ssempala says the habit of military officers beating journalists is continuing despite the pledge by the army leadership to stop the practice. He promised to follow up the matter with the army leadership to ensure the affected journalists get justice.
The UPDF spokesperson Brigadier Flavia Byekwaso told URN on the phone that she had also heard about the incident but was yet to get details.
The attack on the journalists comes a few days after the army and the national association of broadcasters organised a friendly football match between top army officials and journalists to try and mend the sour relationships results from several attacks on journalists by soldiers.