The arrest of a Ugandan Journalist, Andrew Arinaitwe, pictured, in early March presents yet another lack of readiness by the authorities to embrace freedom of expression and of the press, writes CJA Vice President DRITO ALICE from Uganda:.
Arinaitwe, a freelance journalist on assignment for the weekly magazine The Continent, was arrested at a school while investigating a story on alleged sexual abuse.
He was charged with criminal trespass and detained, but later released on bail following pressure from media freedom and human rights groups.
“Andrew Arinaitwe’s ongoing detention and prosecution raises serious questions about the lengths authorities will go to restrict coverage of sensitive topics,” said Muthoki Mumo, sub-Saharan Africa representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists.
“He should be allowed to continue his reporting without undue interference or further intimidation.”
Legal harassments, arrests, detentions, imprisonments and other mechanisms have become commonplace as Ugandan authorities try to silence journalists and frustrate them as they go about their work.
The authorities are in conflict with the Commonwealth Charter which embraces democracy, human rights, freedom of expression and free, responsible and pluralistic media.
As we celebrate 10 years of Commonwealth Charter, member countries, including Uganda, must renew their commitment to press freedom and embrace the Charter’s spirit of good governance and freedom of expression.