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IGP Ochola on Spot for Inciting Violence Against Journalists

The HRNJ-U Executive Director, Robert Ssempala noted that the statements by Ochola cannot be taken lightly given the fact that police has been the leading violator of media rights.

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The Uganda Editors Guild, an umbrella body that brings together Editors and the Human Rights Network for Journalists Uganda-HRNJ have asked the Inspector General of Police Martins Okoth Ochola to withdraw statements he made against journalists. 

On Friday, while addressing journalists, Ochola said security agencies will continue beating journalists to deter them from going where there is danger. Ochola also declined to give an apology.

The HRNJ-U Executive Director, Robert Ssempala noted that the statements by Ochola cannot be taken lightly given the fact that police has been the leading violator of media rights.

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Ssempala noted that the IGP shall be held solely responsible for any attacks on journalists covering elections and will be individually held reliable for inciting violence against journalists by the police and its sister security agencies while in line of duty.

The Chairman Editors’ Guild, Alex Atuhaire noted that they are documenting all perpetrators of attacks against journalists to institute charges against the individual police officers and other security agencies.

President of the Independent Online Journalists Association, Andrew Irumba advised the security agencies to stop attacking the messenger but ensure that their actions portray how they want to be represented.  

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Ssempala, also said that the journalists’ bodies have worked out a rapid response mechanism to respond to emergencies that might befall journalists in the line of duty during the forthcoming general elections.

Ssempala revealed that together with other partners like ACTV which works on rehabilitation and treatment of torture victims, the Uganda Law Society, the Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET), have put up a team with different competencies to respond to emergencies in terms of kidnap, injuries, medication, temporary relocation of journalists faced with imminent danger and in terms of medical support.

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