Uganda : Police raids cut short three radio interviews with opposition politician
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the heavy-handed raids that the Ugandan police have carried out on three provincial radio stations in the past few weeks in order to cut short interviews with Kizza Besigye, an opposition politician and unsuccessful candidate for president in four successive elections.
The police raided Hope Radio, Kiira FM and Mubende FM on 4, 13 and 18 April respectively. In each case, they cut short an interview with Besigye and disconnected the radio station’stransmitter. In none of the cases did they present a court order or a decision by the Uganda Communications Commission, which regulates the media , to justify their actions.
“Armed raids on media outlets that interview opposition politicians are doubly reprehensible – because they are illegal and because they violate pluralism of opinions,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “With just two years to go to the next presidential election, the authorities must stop suppressing the public debate and must end their systematic persecution of critical reporting.”
Press freedom assailed on all sides
Uganda has fallen 28 places in RSF's World Press Freedom Index since 2015. Criticism of the government and Yoweri Museveni, who has been president in 1986, increasingly results in arrests and attacks on journalists, and censorship.
Museveni no longer has any scruples about publicly insulting journalists and making it harder for them to work. A tax on social network use was introduced last September in order to obstruct the flow of news and information.
Uganda is ranked 125th out of 180 countries in the 2019 World Press Freedom Index.