By Jessica A Badebye
The London Evening Post has learnt that an alleged list of 150 Ugandan journalists has reportedly been compiled by state operatives and has been presented to the State House, official residence of the Ugandan president, accusing them of being “Pro-Mbabazi” in their coverage of the heightened political tension within the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party where Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi is accused of nurturing ambitions to contest in the 2016 presidential elections and undermining his boss President Museveni.
In a press statement issued Monday 17th March, the National Coordinator of the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ) Robert Sempala said his organisation had spoken to most of the journalists on the said list and that they had vehemently denied being inclined to any political camp. He added that some journalists believe that their names were copied and pasted from sign-in books at the Ugandan Parliament or the Media Centre.
Sempala expressed extreme concern with what he called “the superfluous politicization and criminalization” of the media by state operatives who are ‘labelling’ journalists ‘pro-Mbabazi’ to mean that they are supporters of the Ugandan Prime Minister, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi. This, he said, has “horrible political implications” to their careers.
“This unjustified labelling of journalists has sent shock waves, caused panic and stress among media practitioners and many are acting under pressure from their employers and audiences to prove that they are not compromised,” Sempala asserted. He pointed out that the behaviour of State operatives who do the labelling is intended to deny the public the right information pertaining to issues within the ruling NRM party.