There is no joke, there is no play in concern for the journalists in the Republic of Uganda. This can be said after the Uganda Communications Commission yesterday has suspended the Daily Monitor Online Newspaper after publishing a traditional healer story connected with the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga on their pages in the end of January.
As that is happening, today, there was arrest of Next Media Limited, which are behind the NBS Television, who has arrested the wife Vivian Serwanjja of senior investigator Solomon Serwanjja, also arrested Kassim Mohammed, Rashid Kaweesa and Godfrey Badebye from the BBC TV. All of them gotten arrested today. As they were working on an investigation into government drugs and the black market trading in the Republic.
As that is happening, the journalists Raymond Wamala (Spyreports Uganda), Bob Atwiine (Spyreports Uganda), John Njoroge (CEO Magazine), Richard Wanambwa (Eagle Online) and Andrew Irumba Live (Spy Uganda) have been summoned by CID to be at the Police HQ tomorrow. Tomorrow they will be questioned and interviewed by the Police for certain stories they have posted or published. As they have been critical of the regime and what they are claiming. All of these has been there before, as the state tries to intimidate them from doing investigative reporting.
As, we see, it is a pattern, that repeats itself. Every-time someone digs deep or tries to uncover the truth. The state answer with intimidation, arbitrary arrests and even taking people hostage, like they have done in Vivian’s case. Today, Solomon has been hiding, therefore, the state took Vivian in instead. That is how they deem fair treatment of citizens and of the ones possibly exposing the oppression and unjust in society. While doing that, they themselves become criminals and outlaws. As they are just doing their job and trying to report on the events and acts that is done in the Republic.
The media is just telling what they are seeing, they are just exposing and revealing what information they are gathering and finding. They are not trying to make a situation look different than it is. They are trying to reports and explain the background and the context to all the acts that is done in the Republic. If the Republic and government has nothing to fear, then they should not fear journalists. But if the ills of society comes from the government, than the journalists will find it, as they dig into the realities and society they are apart.
Nevertheless, reporting and journalism isn’t a crime, they are just painting the canvass, they are not trigger the gun, but explaining why the person used the gun and the possible reasons for why the person used it in the first place. They are just painting the story, they are not creating the stories. That is reality, that is why these arrests, which isn’t new. The summoning of others, isn’t new either. In the middle of December 2018, the same people was summoned by the CID. So, they are doing it again, apparently.
The BBC has gotten arrested at Abim Hospital and in Kasese in recent years, as they were reporting both during the Campaign before the General Election. Also, as the Special Force Command was burning down the Palace in Kasese. I even remember the journalist outside of Besigye house in Kasangati, Wakiso, as Besigye was house-arrested. He was taken directly, as he was filming it live and was detained while he was on air. That was right after the General Election of 2016. These are just some quick examples, where the authorities has silenced the media. Because, they want to keep to people in the dark.
The Police continues to do this, the authorities wants this, but they are clearly sending the message, that they want to keep the public in the dark. Peace.