News

June 15, 2018

Ugandan President insults and threatens media in televised address

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni © Nicholas Bamulanzeki / AFP
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the irresponsible and dangerous insults and threats that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni directed at the media in a televised address during yesterday’s presentation of the 2018/19 budget.

Uganda’s President for the past 32 years, Museveni referred to certain media outlets as “evil” and “stupid” in his address to government officials and members of parliament that was broadcast live.


He singled out the Daily Monitor, Uganda’s leading newspaper, threatening to “do something about it” if its journalists keep criticizing the Uganda’s growing debt. On 7 April, the newspaper calculated that it would take Uganda 94 years to repay its debt at the current rate.


Last week, the Daily Monitor criticized Museveni’s failure to mention Uganda’s “unsustainable debt” in his state of the nation address on 6 June. It was one of the “big misses,” the newspaper said.


“By hurling abuse at the media in the presence of leading government officials and politicians, the president is legitimizing the use of verbal violence and fuelling a climate of hostility towards journalists who are often subject to arbitrary arrest or physical attack in Uganda,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “Such comments are dangerous and unworthy of a head of state.”


Uganda is ranked 117th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2018 World Press Freedom Index, five places lower than last year.