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Journalists stage walk-out strike over continuing brutality

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Journalists stage walk-out strike over continuing brutality

UPDF Spokesperson Brig. Flavia Byekwaso after she was forced to leave the media center when journalists refused to hear her out before she could apologize for the recent mistreatment of journalists covering Opposition candidates

Journalists this morning Dec 28, walked out of a security briefing at the Government Media Centre in protest against what they called continuing and deliberate brutality against them by security officers.

The journalists had turned up for the usual security briefing but shortly into the address by the Chief Political Commissar (CPC) Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) Henry Matsiko, the Journalists demanded that he apologize on behalf of the force for the brutality visited on them by security agents.

“We will not cover your pressers (press conferences) until you treat us better. We need you to respect our profession,” said Gabriel Buule, a Daily Monitor journalist.

The protest by the journalists prompted some heavy deployment of the police at the media centre.

UPDF deployed heavily at the Media Centre upon hearing of the journalists protest

Buule narrated his ordeal that he suffered injury on his spine which rendered him unable to perform his conjugal functions, because of the beatings he was subjected to by security officers.

“I can no-longer play sex with my wife. I was beaten by police and the condition am in is because of that severe beating that I received. As a journalist, I can only demand that we are protected as we cover these campaigns,” he said.

The protests come just a day after three journalists were hit with teargas canisters when they were covering Robert Kyagulanyi’s procession from Kitovu Church in Masaka on the morning of Sunday Dec 27.

The injured journalists included Ashraf Kasirye of Ghetto TV, Daniel Lutaaya of NBS and Ali Mivule of NTV.

Meanwhile, Uganda Police Force (UPF) Spokesperson Fred Enanga said that journalists criticized the protesting journalists for what he called merely ranting on social media instead of providing concrete evidence of misconduct by their officers.

“The problem with Journalists is that they don’t provide police with sufficient evidence, they only come out on social media,” he said.

“I talked to Ali Mivule and asked him to provide digital evidence that shows how journalists were targeted in Masaka. This proof will help us to pin these officers,” Enanga added.

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