By Dradenya Amazia
THE Arua-based Red Pepper reporter was on Thursday sentenced to a 10-month imprisonment for receiving a bribe.
Ronald Afeku pleaded guilty of taking sh1m from the British American Tobacco Uganda (BATU) manager for not running a story against the company last Thursday.
â€œYou have acted against the ethics of journalism, a noble profession that informs, educates the masses.
â€œYou are sentenced to ten months imprisonment,â€ the Arua Grade II magistrate, Marchelo Alioniin, read the judgement before a fully packed courtroom with the convictâ€™s relatives and journalists.
Alioniin urged journalists to clear their image from criminal acts if they wanted to get public confidence.
The magistrate said Afeku would again appear in court on August 19 to answer more charges of impersonation, false pretence and jumping bail since 2004.
On August 6, Afeku was arrested by plain clothed policemen from BATU offices after receiving a bribe to kill a story on a motor accident involving the tobacco firm, which claimed over 10 people and left many others injured.
The court heard that Afeku had asked for sh2m and the balance would be paid later after handing over the story to the manager.
The e-mail requesting for the money, copy of the news story and the notes which were photocopied were used to pin the tabloid scribe.
In reaction to the sentence, Arua district information officer said it was a good lesson for journalists.
â€œIt is important to stop such people from practicing journalism,â€ commented Darwin Dawa.
He said he had received more reports implicating other scribes.
Afekuâ€™s arrest came weeks after the Arua resident district commissioner, Ibrahim Abiriga, had warned against journalists who ask for bribes before writing stories.