Footage shows journalist being punched outside corruption court in Uganda

March 28, 2016 3:32 PM ET

The broadcast journalist Judith Naluggwa, who works for the state-owned station Bukedde Television, was attacked outside a Ugandan court on March 23, 2016 while reporting on a case of a minister at the Anti-Corruption Court in Kampala, according to the local press freedom group Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda.

Video footage captured by local outlet NBS TV Uganda shows Abraham Byandala, a member of the Ugandan parliament, approaching Naluggwa and asking her why she is filming. He then appears to punch the journalist in the stomach. As he walks away, Naluggwa can be seen holding her stomach.

Naluggwa filed assault charges after the incident, according to reports. In an account that she gave to Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda, Naluggwa said, "He confronted me as he left court. He asked why I was filming him. He punched me on the stomach and scratched my left hand before he walked away."

Byandala denies attacking the journalist and claims the footage was forged, according to reports. The minister is on trial for allegedly embezzling funds from a construction project he was overseeing, according to news reports. In a transcript of an interview Byandala gave to the local station, CBS Radio, which was published by the independent weekly paper, The Observer on March 28, 2016, the minister said his lawyer told the court he is innocent.

CPJ documented several attacks on the press in Uganda in the first few months of 2016, particularly in the lead up to the February 2016 presidential elections, including attacks on journalists, the closure of radio stations, and the arrest of a radio talk show host in the middle of his broadcast.

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