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Red Pepper Editors Bailed - Uganda Latest

Red Pepper Editors Bailed - Uganda Latest

Article ID:

21549

Daily Monitor (Uganda) reports that eight Red Pepper editors and senior managers arrested in November - on charges including publication of information prejudicial to security, libel and offensive communication - have been granted bail pending further judicial proceedings.

On 21 November, police operatives removed eight directors and editors from their offices at Pepper Publications Group and detained them at Nalufenya Police Detention Centre in Jinja. The eight included Richard Tusiime, Johnson Musinguzi, Patrick Mugumya, Arinatiwe Rugyendo, Richard Kintu, Ben Byarabaha, Francis Tumusiime, and James Mujuni.

The following day, the editors were forced to reveal computer passwords to police detectives who were attempting to establish the source of a story published by Red Pepper on 20 November concerning an alleged plot to overthrow the government of neighbouring Rwanda.

The Buganda Road Court granted non-cash bail of Shs20 million to the eight Red Pepper editors and senior managers on Tuesday, 19th December. Their sureties were also bonded at Shs20 million each.

Read the Daily Monitor report here.

On 4 December, WAN-IFRA wrote to President Yoweri Museveni to protest the arrests as well as the handling of the case. In its letter condemning the treatement of the eight Red Pepper staff, WAN-IFRA also highlighted the deteriorating situation for media freedom in Uganda:

"We take this opportunity to express our growing unease at the way media is being treated in Uganda. Editors from media houses such as Monitor Publications Ltd. and Vision Group have recently been summoned to the Criminal Investigations and Intelligence Directorate regarding stories they have published. Although they have not been officially charged in court, this trend of summoning and interrogating editors is likely to instil further concern among journalists across the country. Such actions will likely lead to an increase in self-censorship and an understandable reluctance to pursue future stories for fear of recrimination or legal harassment.

For journalists already struggling under what is a difficult climate for professional journalism, the actions of the security forces - and apparent willingness of the government to pursue legal action against media as a means of stifling reporting into issues of clear public interest and national importance – severely infringes on the freedom of the press to carry out its essential watchdog role."

Read the full letter here.

Author

Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop

Date

2017-12-20 13:42

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Author

Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop

Date

2017-12-04 12:50

In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...