Some journalists who were beaten while covering 2021 presidential elections have refuted media reports that they were compensated by the government.
This followed a leaked report from the United Nations Human Rights committee submitted by the government in defense of the steps taken to preserve press freedom in Uganda.
In the report, the government said it compensated Culton Scovia Nakamya, a journalist working for BBS TV and Ashraf Kasirye, a freelance Journalist with Ghetto Media for the human rights violations during the 2021 election period.
“The Ugandan military convicted seven soldiers for 90 days who assaulted journalists covering an event outside a UN office in the capital Kampala. And the affected journalists Scovia Nakamya and Ashraf Kasirye have been compensated by the government of Uganda,” Part of the report read.
However, speaking to Lens Media, Nakamya said that the government lied because as a person who believes in facts and a vanguard of integrity she was not in Kololo when Journalists were assaulted by security officers at the UN Human Rights Offices.
“I have never involved myself in any kind of negotiations with the government of Uganda on the above matter or any other. I have never received any form of compensation from the government of Uganda. I want to extend my protest to the government officials who came up with this concoction to submit to a highly respectable body like the United Nations,” she said.
She said her attention was drawn to a story published by a certain media outlet alleging that the government compensated her for the human rights violations during the 2021 election period, something which is not true.
As a journalist, she noted that she is aware that in the past five years, there is no clear record of how many security officers have been prosecuted for violating press freedom.
“Journalists including myself, were victims of different kinds of violations. Our tormentors are still on run and in fact some have been rewarded with promotions. The government of Uganda should take clear steps to punish the culprits and desist from fabricating stories to answer charges from the UN,” she said.
She stated fabricating such reports is a clear indication that there’s no commitment to dispense Justice and improve on the relations.
Kasirye asked the government to retract such an embarrassment report, adding that he has never received any form of compensation from the government nor did he get involved in any form of engagement with the state regarding the matter.
Many journalists, mostly those who covered opposition campaigns, found themselves victims of the attacks meted out when security forces tried to block or stop the candidates and their supporters.
On February 17 2021, military police beat at least ten journalists covering Uganda’s opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine as he delivered a petition to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Kampala
His petition was to protest human rights abuses and abductions of his supporters in the run up to and after January’s contested presidential election.
The Inspector General of Police(IGP), Martin Okoth Ochola recently said he was happy about the much-improved relations between the police and the media.
He said that there has been a tremendous reduction in the use of teargas as a crowd dispersal method and very few incidents of physical attacks on journalists and disruption of media workers.
He said he had sent out a very strong reminder to all territorial police commanders that any attacks against journalists are unacceptable and must not go unpunished.