In a 12th October 2012 letter, Robert Ssempala, the Research, Advocacy and Documentation Officer HRNJ-Uganda warns security officials in the district to desist from being used by the LC V chairperson to implicate journalists on terrorism.
Luka Nyeko, the Kitgum District LC V chairman is under pressure from Civil Society Organizations and Human Rights activists to stop intimidating and harassing media houses. The activists have instead asked the LC V chairman to reconcile with media houses. On June 19, journalists under Kitgum Media Practitioners’ Association slapped a ban on the district activities accusing the LC V chairperson of harassment. It came after Nyeko singled out some critical media houses he accused of inciting violence against him and courting urban terrorism.
The journalists vowed not to cover the district unless the chairperson offers them a written and verbal apology. However, Nyeko responded back by threatening to order the closure of Mighty Fire FM and institute punitive measures against Steven Komakech, Alex Komakech and Reno Opio. Now, the Uganda Human Rights Network for Journalists-HRNJ-Ugandahas written to Nyeko asking him to harmonize his working relationship with the media.
In a 12th October 2012 letter, Robert Ssempala, the Research, Advocacy and Documentation Officer HRNJ-Uganda warns security officials in the district to desist from being used by the LC V chairperson to implicate journalists on terrorism. He advises the LC V chairman to seek legal redress if he is aggrieved by the journalists instead of resorting to unconstitutional means.
He warns that if Nyeko insists on persecuting journalists they will be left with no option but to drag him to courts of law. Civil society organizations in the district have also backed the decision by journalists to slap a ban on the LC V chairperson until he seeks genuine dialogue. Fred Nyero, a programme Officer Kitgum Concerned Women Association says it is uncalled for the district chairperson to curtail media freedom in the district. Nyero says as civil society, they will not simply watch as the media is being intimidated.
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Denis Arop, the Executive Director of Active Vision Youth Foundation has thrown his support behind the media. He says through the news blackout the chairperson will be forced to realize his mistakes and correct them;
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Gladys Laker, the coordinator of Kitgum NGO Forum has condemned the actions of the district chairperson. Laker says the actions are arbitrary and contravene the constitution. She says the NGO Forum will make attempts to meet the district chairperson and initiate dialogue to resolve the standoff;
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Luka Nyeko, the Kitgum district LC V chairperson has not yet responded to the threats from the civil society organizations.