PPF condemns assault and detention of photojournalist in Uganda

Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), in a letter to Ruhakana Rugunda, Prime Minister of Uganda has expressed concern over the assault and detention of photojournalist James Akena for covering demonstrations in Uganda on August 20.

PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali has condemned this attack and called on the Ugandan authorities and military to respect press freedom and stop attacking and detaining journalists for doing their work.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), Akena was arrested while covering protests demanding the release of prominent musician and politician Robert Kyangulanyi, known as Bobi Wine.

Military officers surrounded the journalist and beat him up after which he was taken away. Akena was later released and taken to hospital for treatment.

The Ugandan army issued a statement after seeing widespread condemnation and stories of other journalists being attacked the same day. The army expressed umbrage at the unethical act and stated that it had issued orders for the arrest of the military personnel involved.

Security forces in Uganda have attacked journalists for years. Attacks on journalists often serve to discourage journalists from covering sensitive events and even serves to stop other groups from gathering evidence on or reporting about incidents of soldiers attacking citizens.