UGANDA


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How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press



JANUARY 6, 2003

Vincent Matovu, Mazima
IMPRISONED, LEGAL ACTION

Matovu, managing editor of the local, Luganda-language weekly Mazima, was arrested and sent to prison on two counts of sedition.

The charges stem from two Mazima articles published in October and November 2002. The articles alleged that Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army rebels had killed several thousand Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF) soldiers and had captured districts in the north and east of the country. The articles also alleged that the Allied Democratic Forces, another rebel group fighting in western Uganda, had killed hundreds of UPDF soldiers.

Local sources told CPJ that Matovu had been arrested for the same articles in November 2002 and was detained for more than a week. Matovu was released on bail sometime around the beginning of February. The charges are still pending.


FEBRUARY 23, 2003

Nicholas Kajoba, New Vision
ATTACKED

Followers of Imelda Namutebi, a pastor at Liberty Worship Church Center in the suburbs of the capital, Kampala, and a notable public figure, attacked and severely beat Kajoba, a journalist for the state-owned daily New Vision.

Kajoba had gone to the church to cover Namutebi's first sermon since her controversial wedding the previous week. In the days before and after the wedding, New Vision had published a number of articles and readers' letters about the marriage. Some of the letters criticized her for marrying a man who had not divorced his previous wife and implied that he had abandoned his first wife and child.

Church members attacked Kajoba when he tried to take a picture of Namutebi preaching. Namutebi encouraged the perpetrators, saying the journalist deserved the beating for his paper's negative stories about her, sources at New Vision said. The church members took Kajoba's notebook and film. The journalist was later treated at a Kampala hospital for a head injury.


JUNE 22, 2003
Posted: January 29, 2004

Radio Kyoga Veritas FM
CENSORED

Ugandan authorities raided the offices of the Catholic Church-owned Radio Kyoga Veritas FM, in the northeastern town of Soroti, and stopped all broadcasts for more than two months. The move came in reprisal for the station's reports about fighting in the region between government forces and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). Officers searched the premises, confiscating audiotapes and documents, and did not allow the station's staff to leave until that evening. Employees were not allowed to return to the station's offices.

Sources in Soroti said that at a June 17 meeting in the town, Ugandan Minister of State for Refugees and Disaster Preparedness Christine Amongin Aporu directed all radio stations in the area to stop airing news or talk shows about the LRA attacks. In the days preceding the police raid, Radio Kyoga Veritas FM had broadcast interviews with people affected by the fighting. Station Manager Father Athanasius Mubiru told CPJ that authorities were particularly angered by a show that featured interviews with people who had been abducted and released by the LRA. Because the interviewees said they had not been mistreated in captivity, government officials accused the station of acting subversively and of promoting the rebel cause, according to Mubiru. He said that Radio Kyoga Veritas was also accused of sensationalism for allegedly inciting panic and causing people to flee their homes.

Radio Kyoga Veritas was reopened on August 30, according to Mubiru. He told CPJ he believed that the station was allowed on air again because of public and political pressure in Uganda and internationally.