Thursday, August 05, 2010

Freedom of Speech: Uganda - Journalist arrested, charged with sedition

Source: International Freedom of Expression eXchange and Human Rights Network for Journalists -

"Uganda Record" journalist Timothy Kalyegira has been charged with sedition over a story about a bomb blast. Kalyegira, who was summoned on 29 July 2010, was arrested on 2 August at the Kibuli Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters and released on bond.

"Uganda Record", one of Uganda's online magazines, established in July 2009, allegedly published stories on both 12 July and 16 July under the title "Who set off the Uganda bombs?"

The law on sedition is commonly used in Uganda against journalists and other people with divergent views. More than a dozen journalists are being prosecuted under charges of sedition. It's now more than five years since journalist Andrew Mwenda challenged the constitutionality of the law on sedition before the constitutional court. "The law does not only infringe on the rights to freedom of expression, conscience and opinion but it bars the public from checking those in power and holding them accountable for their actions," said Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) Programmes Coordinator Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala.

Article 29 (a) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda says every person shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression, which shall include freedom of the press and other media.

According to the police bond, Kalyegira was required to report to the Kira road police station on 3 August at 10:00 a.m. for further questioning.