Committee to Protect Journalists
Country Report: Uganda
As of December 31, 1998

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Uganda's dynamic independent press has remained critical and outspoken even as the country's political system remains closed to political parties, making the media the primary forum for political debate. The 1995 constitution restricts freedom of association and assembly, and while political parties are allowed to exist in name, they may not engage in any organizing of constituencies or campaigning.

The independent press--the bulwark of pluralism and civil society--remains vulnerable to draconian statutes, such as sedition laws, modeled after the colonial-era laws that were used to control dissent. And the restrictions on political parties are now being enforced against the private press. On December 17, police arrested George Lugalambi, editor of the triweekly independent newspaper The Crusader, and charged him with "promoting sectarianism." The charge stemmed from an article in the newspaper that quoted the opposition National Democrats Forum chairman, Chapaa Karuhanga--who was also arrested the same day--as saying that President Museveni is a dictator and a thief, unlike his predecessors Milton Obote and Idi Amin, who were merely dictators.

Regional and international media have come to rely on Uganda's journalists in their coverage of the war and related official corruption. In fact, it was the country's independent investigative journalists who exposed Uganda's and Rwanda's involvement in the rebellion to oust Democratic Republic of Congo President Laurent Kabila. But those who scrutinize the powerful risk a brutal response. After The Monitor published a story in its October 29 edition that exposed the practice of torture by government and military intelligence officers, Ogen Kevin Aliro, the paper's chief sub-editor and the author of the article, was assaulted by six unidentified men. The government has yet to release the results of its investigation into the incident.
Attacks on the Press in Uganda in 1998
Date Journalist Incident
10/29/98 Ogen Kevin Aliro, The Monitor Attacked

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