Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

24 May 2013

Uganda: Activists arrested as disturbing crackdown on media continues

Uganda: Activists arrested as disturbing crackdown on media continues
There have been protests against the closure of the Daily Monitor

There have been protests against the closure of the Daily Monitor

© AFP/Getty Images


The Ugandan authorities' desperation to control an uncomfortable political story has exposed their disregard for freedom of expression.
Source: 
Amnesty International's Sarah Jackson

The Ugandan authorities must end an attack on freedom of expression that has left several media outlets shut by security forces for a fifth day, Amnesty International said today after several activists were arrested for protesting against the crackdown.

Armed police closed two newspapers and two radio stations on 20 May, after they reported on an alleged government plot to assassinate politicians opposed to President Yoweri Museveni’s son taking over when his father steps down.

Riot police arrested five human rights activists yesterday for protesting against the closure of the Daily Monitor, the Kampala-based newspaper that first published the story earlier in May.

"The Ugandan authorities' desperation to control an uncomfortable political story has exposed their disregard for freedom of expression and violated the right of Ugandans to receive information," said Sarah Jackson, Amnesty International's Deputy Africa Director.

"The police must immediately withdraw from the offices of all media outlets targeted in this disturbing crackdown, and allow them to go about their journalistic work."

Police authorities seeking a leaked document alleging the government plot, written by Uganda's intelligence services’ coordinator General David Sejjusa, have publicly declared these media outlets "crime scenes" while they establish the source of the leak.

The Daily Monitor is still unable to publish anything in print, while radio stations KFM and Dembe FM remain off the air.

The Daily Monitor obtained a court order on 22 May overturning the police's search warrant, but armed officers continue to surround the sealed-off building.

Five activists from Ugandan human rights organizations were arrested early yesterday evening and charged with "unlawful assembly" for protesting against the Daily Monitor's closure.

They have been released on police bond and are set to face trial.

"The Ugandan authorities should stop ruthlessly clamping down on journalists providing information to the public," said Sarah Jackson.

"Journalists must be free to do their legitimate work and all charges against those peacefully expressing dissent must be dropped."

Issue

Freedom Of Expression 

Country

Uganda 

Region

Africa 

Follow #uganda @amnestyonline on twitter

News

21 August 2014

Children accused of being members of armed groups in the conflict in Mali are languishing in adult jails while human rights abuses continue.

Read more »
15 August 2014

The number of killings perpetrated by the police is on the rise again in the Dominican Republic whilst legislation intended to fix the problem stalls and stagnates in Congress... Read more »

29 August 2014

The execution of two men in Japan on Friday flies in the face of growing calls in the country to halt the use of capital punishment, said Amnesty International.

Read more »
29 August 2014

Russia’s official branding of a civil society organization as a “foreign agent”, an expression akin to “spying”, for speaking out on Ukraine is a sign of the country’s... Read more »

31 August 2014

Egypt is tightening its chokehold on civil society as the country’s independent NGOs face the risk of being shut down if they fail to comply with a compulsory requirement to... Read more »