Uganda News

IGP Ochola: Attacks Against Journalists Unacceptable, must be Punished

On World Press Freedom Day, Tuesday, Ochola issued a warning to Ugandan journalists and media professionals.

Martin Okoth Ochola, the Inspector-General of Police, has warned police commanders against attacking journalists, adding that any who do so will be prosecuted without fail.

On World Press Freedom Day, Tuesday, Ochola issued a warning to Ugandan journalists and media professionals.

Before acknowledging the significance of journalists and media practitioners in bringing knowledge to society, he stated that press freedom was about the right to receive and impart information.

Ochola expressed his delight at the better relationship between the police and the media.

“For example, there has been a significant decrease in the deployment of teargas as a crowd dispersal strategy this year alone, with very few incidences of physical attacks on journalists and disruption of media workers,” he added.

He ascribed this to proper training on the responsibilities and functions of journalists, which was given to all police personnel, as well as frequent refresher courses on media roles and policing.

According to him, because of rising levels of awareness and sensitization about media duties, actions of interference and obstruction of journalism work, such as snatching or damaging cameras, intimidation, and other disruptive behavior, have decreased.

To maintain this function, the IGP issued a clear reminder to all territorial commanders that any attacks on journalists are unacceptably dangerous and must be punished.

“In addition, where journalists are intimidated, all commanders should respond quickly and launch prompt, complete, and transparent investigations, with culprits brought to justice,” Ochola stated in a message provided by CP Fred Enanga, Uganda Police Force’s Press and Public Relations Officer.

He stated that the Police Press and Public Relations Office will continue to closely monitor all instances involving journalists, especially citizen journalists, in order to ensure that their rights are protected.

“We pledge to continue working with media associations such as the Editors Guild, HRNJ, UJA, Media Council, and UCC to dialogue in order to avoid friction or clashes between the police, other security agencies, and members of the media, particularly during times of crisis, election periods, and public demonstrations.”

“As we commemorate World Press Freedom Day, the Joint Security Agencies’ leadership reaffirms their commitment to deepen their cooperation with the media.” We’ll make sure you’re better safeguarded as you try to gain access to information.”

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