Journalists in Busoga region have threatened to boycott covering police and its activities following the shooting of one of their colleagues during a foiled opposition rally in Jinja.
Vincent Mukisa, a journalist with Basoga Bainho FM in Jinja was last week shot and injured by a rubber bullet while covering a blocked Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) rally last week on Thursday.
FDC presidential aspirant Kizza Besigye and FDC spokesperson Ssemujju Nganda were arrested by police from their respective homes – only released later in the evening.
Anti-riot police battled FDC supporters who had managed to access Kakindu stadium and Kazimingi Industrial Park – the venues that FDC claimed had been booked for the rallies.
Police insisted the rallies were “illegal” and started firing teargas and rubber bullets to disperse the charged FDC supporters – injuring Mukisa in the process.
The coordinator of Busoga Media Link, Meddy Mbentyo says they will not cover any police functions unless the force shows commitment that it will let journalists do their work freely.
“It is a way of barring and intimidating, blocking, locking out media from disseminating information to the masses who are the last consumers. And I believe that it is very uncouth. The police must leave media to perform to the expectations of the masses or else; we had already given them an ultimatum. We’re going to sit once again and see how we can also manage police in as far as coverage of its activities is concerned”, Mbentyo said.
But Felix Mugizi the Jinja District Police Commander accuses some journalists of siding with opposition politicians.
Mugizi says Mukisa was shot after he joined the opposition politicians and was mistaken to be a ‘rioter.’
“But that man [Vincent Mukasa] was on the side of politicians….when these people [police] were firing teargas it landed on him…journalists were on the side. For him he was on the other side when police was advancing, so he was taken to be a rioter”, Mugizi said.