Saturday, December 8, 2012

Journalist’s home set a blaze.

Kabale, 8th/December/2012;
Unknown assailants have set on fire Robert Muhereza’s home using a combustible liquid. He is the second journalist in the same district to be attacked in a period of one and a half years after Goodluck Musinguzi a New Vision journalist.

Muhereza, a correspondent for the Daily Monitor from Kabale district, Western Uganda told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that the fire attack happened in the early hours of 8th/December/2012.

HRNJ-Uganda has learnt that the assailants jumped over a 10 meter high perimeter wall opposite the area police station to attack a family of four.

“At 3am, I heard someone outside at my house’s main door and woke up. I also woke up my wife and upon peeping through the bedroom window, I saw someone with a plastic bottle pouring some liquid stuff at my door steps. I raised the alarm and the assailant dressed like a man quickly started fire before taking off.  Neighbors came to my rescue but found when the fire had burnt a curtain and part of the main door.  I stay near the police but by the time someone gets the courage to attack me he/she behind it must be serious. I fear for my life and my family because anytime anything is bound to happen again” Said, Muhereza.

He said he hadn’t been involved in anything critical apart from his previous reporting about events at Uganda-Congo boarder resulting from the fighting between M23 rebels and DR. Congo forces.

The Regional Police Commander for Kigezi Region Olivia Wabwire confirmed the incident and said one suspect has been arrested and exhibits have been recovered at the scene. She said investigations are still on-going.

For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Kivebulaya Road Mengo Kampala Opp. St. Marcelino Pre. School
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala. Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627
E-mail: / / Website:; BLOG:

Friday, December 7, 2012

Court dismisses libel case against two Ugandan journalists

Kampala, 07th/December/2012; Makindye Chief Magistrate’s Court has dismissed a criminal libel case in which two Daily Monitor journalists Henry Ochieng and Angelo Izama were accused of defaming the president of the Republic of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
The Grade One Magistrate, Flavia Nabakooza cleared Ochieng, Daily Monitor’s Political Editor and Izama, a former senior reporter with the same daily news paper for want of prosecution. She, however, advised the state to reinstate the matter once the Supreme Court makes a ruling on the legality of the offense of criminal libel, which is being challenged by four Ugandan journalists in the country’ Supreme Court.

Prosecution alleges that the duo, on December 20, 2009 unlawfully published a defamatory article that appeared in the Sunday Monitor titled: "Will the people's power defeat President Museveni in the poll?” comparing the Ugandan government to that of the Philippines under former leader Ferdinand Marcos who was ousted through public protests in 1986. The column discussed the risk of political violence ahead of the 2011 general elections, in which Museveni was expected to seek a fourth term. Ochieng and Izama denied the charges. The case had not been heard since 2009 when they were charged.

Four journalists: Joachim Buwembo, Robert Mukasa, Bernard Tabaire and Emmanuel Davies Gyezaho challenged the legality of the offence in the Supreme Court after being dissatisfied with the Constitutional Court ruling that upheld the offense of criminal libel. The journalists argue that criminal libel infringes on media freedom which is their fundamental right enshrined in the National Constitution. The appeal has not been heard since the court is not fully constituted. Without the required Coram of seven judges, the case cannot takeoff.
 “I feel very relieved now after walking to Court for almost three years. It is however too early to celebrate since the matter in the Supreme Court is still pending.” Ochieng told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda.

Daily Monitor lawyer, James Nangwala told HRNJ-Uganda that all similar cases should now be dismissed. “All the other pending cases of criminal libel should face the same fate. There is no reason why people should continue walking to court when their cases cannot be heard. People should not even be charged from this offence until the Supreme Court has made its ruling.” he said.

The Judiciary spokesperson, Erias Kisawuzi was not sure when the appeal could be ruled on. “We know the Court has no quorum, so we are waiting for the appointing authority who is the president to appoint news justices to the Supreme Court. Some of them have retired while others died.” he said.

“HRNJ-Uganda welcomes the bold step taken by the Magistrate to dismiss the case other than making unending adjournments. We appeal to the appointing authority to execute his mandate of appointing the required number of justices of the Supreme Court in order to ensure a fully functioning judiciary. Meanwhile all pending cases of criminal libel against other journalists should be dismissed; the State should also refrain from preferring similar charges until the Supreme Court has disposed of the pending appeal before it.” said the National Coordinator Wokulira Ssebaggala.

For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Kivebulaya Road Mengo Kampala Opp.St. Marcelino Pre. School
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala
Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627

Monday, December 3, 2012

HRNJ-U Holds the 2012 Annual General Meeting

Kampala, 3rd/December/2012; Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) has held its 3rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) with a call from journalists to regionalize interventions as a way to address increasing violations in the countryside. The meeting that saw an increase of members from 100 members in last year AGM to over 150 fully subscribed members was held on Saturday 1st, 2012 at Hotel Triangle, Kampala.

The call follows an outcry from countryside members who have experienced attacks from different perpetrators ranging from politicians, security agencies to members of the public among others. 

In addition to the above, members took stock of previous year’s activities and made resolutions for the upcoming year.

The AGM stands as one of the major internal governance undertakings to improve HRNJ-U’s governance and stability as it navigates its course meant to realize its set mandate.
Among the major outcomes that members proposed were;

·         Regionalize interventions to address the plight of locally based journalists
·         Recruiting more organizations and Media Agencies to the Network
·         Exploring cross border partnerships and exchanges relevant in sharing of best practices  and experience 

·         Increasing the Membership subscription fees so that the Network stabilizes its financial status
·         Rescheduling the dates of the AGM from the later part of the year to Mid- year periods
And as the meeting came to the end, a member of the Network demonstrated an act of generosity and solidarity to the organization by donating a personal car to help secretariat expedite its duties on a temporary basis up until the organization purchases its own car.

HRNJ-U remains committed to strengthening its internal structures and programmes to widely contend with the challenges facing journalists in the country. By setting up these structures, the Network is establishing a firm base of addressing needs of journalists and promoting general human rights in Uganda in a stable and sustainable manner. 

“It hasn’t been easy for us to make to this and wish to appreciate all those helping the Network move in this direction especially members and development partners whose input has immeasurably contributed to growth and development of the institution” Said, Mulindwa Mukasa, HRNJ-Uganda Board Chairperson.
For More Information Contact;
 Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
 Kivebulaya Road Mengo Kampala Opp. St. Marcelino Pre. School
 P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627
 Website: ,BLOG:


Thursday, November 29, 2012

CBS radio journalist has a case to answer.

Kalangala, 28th/November/2012; a court in Kalangala has ruled that a Central Broadcasting Service (CBS) radio journalist Ronald Ssembuusi has a case of criminal defamation to answer in a matter brought against him by the Kalangala district Chairperson David Kikoola. CBS radio is owned by Buganda Kingdom. 

Ssembuusi -a correspondent for Kalangala district in the Central Uganda region was dragged by the district Chairman David Kikoola to court accusing him of defamation. He reported a story which aired on CBS radio on 17th/November/2011 that Kikoola was being investigated for alleged involvement in the disappearance of solar panels. Over 80 solar panels were donated by the African Development Bank through the ministry of water and environment in 2010 to help circulate clean and safe water in Kalangala Town Council. But about 40 (forty) of them went missing. Since November 2011, police have recovered some of them
Prosecution alleged that the story defamed Kikoola and brought several witnesses who among others included Daniel Kikoola- the complainant, Tindyebwa David -a fisherman and Kaweesa Gibril.

Ssembuusi preferred to remain silent after the ruling was delivered on November 28th, 2012 by presiding magistrate, Kenneth Gimungu. 

He is being represented by the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda lawyer Catherine Anite who tendered in defence evidence of a letter written by the Water ministry to the Kalangala Town Clerk about the loss of solar panels in the district in a bid to justify the cause of the story.  After Anite’s oral submissions which closed the defence’ case, the prosecution was given up to one week to respond.

.Court will set the judgment date on the 19th December 2012.
HRNJ-Uganda is impressed by the expeditious way in which this matter is being handled by the Court and is optimistic that the journalist will be acquitted.

For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Kivebulaya Road at Mengo Kampala Opp. St. Marcelino Pre. School
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala, Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627