Attacks on the media
Acts of intimidation and violence against reporters are an almost daily occurrence in Uganda. The security services, which are the leading press freedom violators, often target them and detain them arbitrarily, as was the case with several journalists investigating trafficking in fake medicines in 2019. Any criticism of the authorities can result in journalists being beaten, abducted or deprived of their equipment with impunity. Uganda’s president for the past 34 years, Yoweri Museveni tolerates no criticism and often uses hate speech in his references to the media, as in a 2018 press conference when he called journalists “parasites.”
Charges of treason under the criminal code, which carry a heavy sentence, are often used to gag the media. It is not uncommon for the authorities to intervene directly to block the broadcasting of TV reports. In 2019, the police raided three commercial radio stations to cut short interviews with the opposition leader. The media regulator also ordered media outlets to “suspend” a total of 39 reporters and producers for reporting a well-known opposition politician’s arrest. A court quashed the order a few weeks later. The persecution of journalists was reinforced in June 2017 by the creation of a special team of state security officers and IT experts to scan posts on Facebook and other social networks for criticism of the government. During elections, the Internet is often disconnected or access to social media is blocked. A daily tax on use of social media, the first of its kind in Africa, was introduced in 2018, further undermining journalists and media outlets.
125 in 2019
39.42 in 2019