ARTICLE 19 calls for the unconditional release of The Alternative DigiTalk TV journalists who were arrested on 10 February 2022 by people said to be from the military. The whereabouts of all the nine staff remain unknown.
The nine arrested include the Executive Director Tumuhimbise Norman, Mukose Arnold (Programs Director), Faridah Bikobere (TV host), Jeremiah Mukiibi (Producer), Tumusiime Kato (Production), Tulyahabwe Roger (Production), Nabukeera Teddy Teangle (presenter), Lillian Luwedde (presenter) and Wabyona Jeje Jacob (media intern student from Uganda Christian University). The reason for their arrest is not yet known.
“We condemn the action by the Ugandan Government to harass and arbitrary arrest journalists. This is creating an environment where the media has to operate in an intimidating atmosphere,” said Mugambi Kiai, ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa Regional Director.
During the third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) cycle, the Ugandan Government committed to the promotion and protection of human rights, including that of the media. It also affirmed that it would not obstruct the media from doing its work. During the second UPR cycle, Uganda accepted specific recommendations concerning freedom of expression, speech and assembly. The attack on The Alternative DigiTalk TV goes against those commitments.
ARTICLE 19 has repeatedly called upon the Ugandan Government to abide by obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which includes protection of media freedom. In the run-up to the January 2021 elections, ARTICLE 19 also raised concerns regarding an increase in targeted violations, including charging journalists with incitement to violence and malicious damage.
“We remind the Ugandan Government that it has a duty to prevent, protect against, and prosecute attacks against journalists and human rights defenders”, noted Kiai.
For more information and to arrange media interviews, please contact Mugambi Kiai, Regional Director at Article 19 Eastern Africa, [email protected]