The National Coordinator of Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda), Robert Ssempala (2nd right) speaking during a breakfast meeting held at Sports View hotel in Bweyogerere on Friday 20, 10 2017 as the Programs manager, African Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (ACTV) Michael Bamulangeyo (Left), Communications and Advocacy Officer ACTV Paul Kirya Mukalere (2ndLeft) and head of Programs ACTV Esther Nabwiire (R) look on. Photo by Shamim Saad
Journalists have been warned against taking part and sides during public demonstration saying that they might sustain injuries.
The National coordinator for the Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ) Robert Ssempala explained that, “As journalists we do one of the most important jobs there is, so looking after ourselves and crews is number one priority; no story is worth dying for.”
He added that reporters are always targeted digitally by rioters, police and even governments, making it increasingly dangerous to be a journalist.
“Thankfully, news organisations are aware of the changing dangers for reporters out in the field, with many publishers making hostile environment training a requirement, along with employing their own safety advisors,” he noted.
Ssempala made the remarks during the African Centre for Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (ACTV) media breakfast meeting at Sports View Hotel Kireka, Wakiso district on Friday.
Ssempala cited the on-going anti-age limit demonstrations, warning that if the journalists don’t go slowly, they will fall prey to both the rioters and security agencies.
“We should perform our duties of disseminating information to the public but with caution; we should be mindful of our lives,” he warned journalists.
At the meeting, a report on torture revealed that youth age aged 19 to 35 years continue to contribute the largest share of the number of new survivors of torture.
ACTV head of programs, Esther Nabwire said the youth continue to be the most affected being the most susceptible age group.
“The organisation conducts visits to police stations, army barracks and prisons as part of its investigations into alleged human rights abuses in detention facilities.
We found out that last year alone new torture victims were 1,154 meaning that torture is still a big challenge in this country,” she explained.
She added that clients alleged that state agencies, security operatives and militia as the major perpetrators.
“Survivors received at ACTV alleged to have been tortured using different methods including physical, psychological or both. It is important to note that physical methods of torture came out more pronounced among clients received,” she said.
Pual Kirya the communication s and advocacy officer ACTV however, acknowledged that many cases have been listened to under the human rights commission’s tribunal where some have been compensated for damages caused.
ACTV is a non -governmental organisation charged with providing services to survivors and victims of torture in Uganda.