By Taibot Marko
Adjumani-Members of the media and West Nile Press Association have condemned the brutality meted by members of Adjumani boda-boda Association against a colleague journalist of vision group Unzimai John.
While addressing a press conference at Hotel Zawadi today, the chairperson media association Aulogo Amacha Goli echoed that the media is not party to the conflict that escalated Tuesday, among the Boda Boda cyclists against the police and that the journalists who were in the field were on a routine duty.
He stressed that journalists are bound by the duty to mirror with the society and to inform and educate among other duties, but never to meddle in conflicts.
Amacha said: “The attack on our member Unzimai John, is an attack on the media by a section of the boda boda riders, which will be resisted using all the peaceful means within our reach.”
The Media Association Aulogo, on this account is considering total media blackout on all the activities of Adjumani boda-boda Association, pending a meeting with their officials.
“I strongly advise my fellow journalists’ to take charge of their own security and avoid situations that will place their lives in jeopardy since there is no news story worth dying for,” Amacha said.
Esegu Julius board chairperson of Human Rights Network for Journalists Uganda, in a press statement issued and said he equally shares the pain John Unzimai a journalist working with the New Vision/Arua One FM is going through after being harassed, roughed-up and allegedly beaten by a gang of boda-boda riders in Adjumani under unknown circumstances while in the line of duty covering a riot in Adjumani.
He called upon the police to investigate this kind of attack s and also ensure the safety and security of journalists on duty as HRNJ-Uganda; shall keep a close eye on this investigation to its logical conclusion and work to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book.
Narrating his ordeal; Unzimai said he was attacked by some boda-boda riders and ordered him to delete all the photos in his phone and camera even when he identified himself as a journalist using his press card.
Before he opened his camera he was punched on the face several times before he bent down to protect his face he was finally hit on the back using a stick as he fell on the ground.
Unzimai’s cameras, power bank and computer could not be traced by the time of filling this story. Unzimai John is still undergoing treatment in Adjumani general referral hospital since he has swollen face, and serious pain on his back.
The chairperson West Nile Press Association, Aluma Clement’s remarks were not contrary that of his colleague journalist in the fraternity. He condemned the frequent attacks in the region on journalist and said it was a criminal act which should not go unpunished and if it does, it will set a dangerous precedence.
A similar scenario occurred recently in Vurra in Arua district where another journalist, Oguzu, working with Arua One Fm was beaten by mob and the perpetrators have not been brought to justice todate.
Failure to explicitly tie accountability to attacks on the press perpetuates a climate that leaves journalists open to attack.