15 September 2010

Two journalists killed in one week

An angry gang of motorcycle taxi drivers beat to death journalist Paul Kiggundu on 10 September when they discovered he was filming them demolish another driver's house, report the Human Rights Journalist Network - Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF). In a separate incident on 13 September, a radio journalist on his way to work was snatched off the road and beaten to death, reports HRNJ-Uganda.

The first deadly incident unfolded when a group of drivers, known as boda-boda, gathered to destroy the house of another driver, Frank Kagayi, who they accused of committing murder and robbery. They then accused Kiggundu of spying for the police, even though he had identified himself as a journalist. They beat him unconscious.

Kiggundu had worked as a contributor to the private, Christian-faith based TOP (Tower of Praise) Radio and TV for the past eight months.

"This incident highlights the frequency to which journalists are exposed to violence because they are on the front line of demonstrations, conflicts or events that get out of control and are seen as unwanted witnesses. We urge the Ugandan authorities to deal severely with those responsible, so that such incidents do not recur," said RSF.

Days later, journalist Dickson Ssentongo was battered to death with metal bars by unknown assailants. Ssentongo, 29, a news anchor with Prime Radio station in Luganda, was also involved in local opposition politics. He was found bleeding and unconscious in a cassava plantation in Mukono district, east of the capital, Kampala, report HRNJ-Uganda and the Eastern Africa Journalists Association (EAJA).

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Radio reporter beaten to death 13 September 2010
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