Police dismiss findings showing deteriorating relations between the Force and media
Police have dismissed fresh findings showing deteriorating relations between the Force and the media, and insisted that the two institutions have been at good terms over the past year. “We are not disappointed with the way we’ve been relating with the fourth estate,” said Kampala Metropolitan Police Spokesperson Ibin Senkumbi. “It’s regrettable that some journalists have not been able to enjoy their rights 100 percent, but we know that our relations have been improving tremendously.” Ssenkumbi was on Tuesday speaking at the launch of the 4th Press Freedom Index Report 2013, which brought out a number of journalists’ rights violations witnesses in the year.
The report revealed a major increase in these violations compared to the previous years, with the Police Force emerging as the worst perpetrator of the injustices for the third year running. 2013, has been described as a highlight in media rights abuses in the country, at the peak of which came the closure of two major media houses, Monitor Publications and the Red Pepper. The report showed a jump in the number of recorded violations cases to 124, up from 84 in 2012, with 84 percent of these being perpetrated by Police, compared to 60 percent in the previous year.
Ssenkumbi however disputed the findings as untrue, and misrepresenting. “All picture evidence brought out in the report was taken as police tried to keep some journalists off crime scenes, and none of them was arrested. Indeed in 2013, no journalist’s equipment (cameras and recorders) were vandalized by the police.”
He noted further that media working conditions on the country were much more conducive compared to other countries in the region and on some developed countries. “You have showed 120 cases of violations of media rights, but we can give you double figures of our officers whose rights have been violated by the broader community.