Journalists have condemned the Ugandan Government’s closure of the Monitor newspaper and two of its sister radio stations.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Doha Centre for Media Freedom criticised the decision to shut down Nation Media Group’s Daily Monitor and its sister radio stations, Dembe FM and KFM.
“Uganda is definitely becoming a country where press freedom abuses and violations are widely perpetrated by the police with total impunity. This must stop immediately,” Mr Gabriel Baglo, the IFJ Africa director, said on Wednesday.
He also asked the Uganda government to ensure that the safety of journalists is guaranteed while executing their duties.
On Monday, police closed down the newspaper and radio stations and declared the newspaper premises a “scene of crime”.
For the second time since 2002, the newspaper’s offices were surrounded by gun-wielding policemen with an order to search for a letter by General David Sejusa.
The men in uniform said they had a warrant to even search the printing press.
Two weeks ago, IFJ also condemned the arrest of James Kasirivu of Endigito Radio, who is detained incommunicado without any charges against him.
And in an open letter to President Yoweri Museveni, the Doha Centre for Media Freedom said Ugandan citizens have as much right to information as anybody else in the world.
“We are urging your government to take the necessary steps to ensure that this right, which is enshrined within the Ugandan constitution, is protected,” the general director of the centre, Mr Jan Keulen, said.
Mr Keulen said Uganda has an important role in fostering peace in East Africa as well as in the country itself.
“A fully functioning media is absolutely essential to this role, and placing unjustified restrictions on journalists will more than likely lead to the creation of divisions and conflict throughout society,” he said in a separate statement.