By Ben Musanje
23rd May 2023
Police, the army, communities and mobs top the list of institutions violating the rights of journalists in the country according to the 2022 Press Freedom Index.
For the fourteenth year, Police emerged as the leading violator of press freedoms in Uganda with 42 cases out of the 94 violations reported in 2022 as per the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ) report.
Other institutions mentioned in the report include the District Environment Officers, Chief Administrative Officers, Private Security Officers, Mayors and unknown perpetuators.
The 2022 index report indicates that human rights abuses declined from 131 in 2020 to 94 in 2022 and assaults were the highest, with 30 cases reported, followed by arrests (22 cases), 15 cases of damages of equipment, 10 involved blockage and denial of access to journalists from covering events, nine cases were of charged journalists as well as confiscation of gadgets and threats.
The report further shows that of the 94 violations and abuses, 65 of them were recorded on reporters followed by seven cases on Talk-Show hosts, Presenters and Freelance journalists while the Central Region had the highest number of cases at 51.
Robert Ssempala, the HRNJ-U Executive Director says that though the number of reported cases is less than those reported in 2021, the overall situation of the practice of journalism and the exercise of press rights and freedoms in Uganda last year remained a hostile one.
Rt. Col. Stephen Basaliza, a commissioner at the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) says that the commission remains committed to fighting the rights of journalists and other Ugandans.