Reuters writes to Gen Muhoozi over journalist Akena beating

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Maggie Fick, Reuters East Africa deputy bureau chief, has written to UPDF Chief of Defence Forces Gen David Muhoozi regarding the treatment of our journalist James Akena on August 20 in Kampala.

The letter says journalist Akena was photographing a protest in Kampala on Sugust 20 when he was severely beaten by uniformed soldiers and detained without charges.

He suffered injuries to his head, spine and hand.

The ministry of defence the next day issued a statement expressing displeasure and dover the unprofessional conduct of soldiers towards journalists and stated that they would be arrested and punished.

Reuters welcomed the promise to investigate the soldiers’ use of physical violence and intimidating against journalists.

It called on the ministry to guarantee the right of journalists to cover newsworthy events in Uganda without risk to their safety and security.

It said the intimidation of news media is inconsistent with Uganda’s constitutional commitment to a free press.

NBS TV host Charles Odongtho says Akena has been discharged from hospital where he had been admitted.

“When I visited Akena, he complained of serious back pain and 2 cracks on a finger!” Odongtho tweeted.

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