“There are folks telling me that as a journalist, I shouldn’t condemn and speak out against the evil done by government, that I should just broadcast them and stop at that. They forget I’m a citizen too and I’m duty bound to say no to injustice when it rears its ugly head,”
The above remarks where made on Tuesday by Christian radio show host and news anchor at NTV Uganda, Joel Ssenyonyi as he responded to individuals who critic him for engaging in political activity.
His submission via facebook comes at a time media is in a constant fray to achieve better freedom in Uganda.
Over the past few months, various Human Rights Groups and Civil Society Organisations have condemned infringement on Journalists’s rights explaining that true media freedom can only be achieved in the absence of interference from an overreaching state.
One, among several incidences that have caused social uproar in Uganda, was on August 13, 2018, where police and military arrested and beat six opposition members of parliament, at least two journalists, and 28 other people in advance of the August 15 by-elections in Arua.
Shocking footage surfaced on social media of James Akena, a prominent Reuters photojournalist being arrested and beaten by soldiers who later took his equipment as he sought to cover city demonstrations on August 20 against legislators’ detention . He was later released.
“Several of my colleagues have been arrested and beaten as they do their job, and each time their footage has been deleted from their cameras (these cowards don’t want us to show the world the evil they are doing),” Mr Ssenyonyi said.
He vowed not to stay silent or bow down to intimidation from top officials in leadership.
God will be displeased if I keep silent as this evil thrives, he explained.
“In my line of work, I witness first-hand some of the gravest ills done by our leaders, and when we broadcast them, they denigrate our media houses and refer to us as liars, even-though they never prove us wrong. These acts of injustice done by those who wield power have now come to our door-step as journalists – I will not pick up guns, burn buildings & wreck havoc, because I don’t believe it helps our country, but i will speak out,” he added.