WATCH: Ugandan journalist Francis Isano arrested for taking photos of police station
A Ugandan photojournalist was on January 12, 2023, briefly arrested by authorities who accused him of “illegally” taking pictures outside the Central Police Station (CPS) where he’d been deployed.
The police then reportedly took his camera and deleted the photos he’d taken.
The arrested journalist was identified as Francis Isano, attached to Next Media Services in Kampala.
A video shared by the media house on social media showed police interrogating the journalist in public before gently leading him away while holding him at the back.
VIDEO: Next Media Photojournalist @francis_isano has been arrested for "illegally" taking pictures outside the Central Police Station (CPS) where he had been deployed. His camera has been taken and pictures deleted. #NBSUpdates pic.twitter.com/TCFfcPrMUk
— NBS Television (@nbstv) January 12, 2023
He was later released and described the move by police to delete his photos as ‘sad’. He also vowed not to be threatened by what he said was intimidation by the authorities.
Dear @PoliceUg, was deleting all pictures of impounded motorcycles being off-loaded at CPS from my Camera by the OC CPS Mr MATOVU necessary!!?
This is SAD! https://t.co/InmrwTNrcx
— 📸 Isaano Francis (@francis_isano) January 12, 2023
Isano is the latest in a string of Ugandan journalists to face arrest in recent times.
In 2022, nine Ugandan journalists, including author and activist Norman Tumuhimbise were arrested while their equipment, including telephones, laptops, recorders, and cameras being confiscated.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said the group was after a complaint indicating the team was involved in offensive communication and promoting hate speech.
And in 2020, NBS Television news anchor Samson Kasumba was also arrested.
He was picked up shortly after co-anchoring the 9 pm news bulletin. His lawyers said police arrested him on allegations of seditious comments. However, the sedition law was in 2009 thrown out by the Constitutional Court after a petition by the Daily Monitor and veteran journalist Andrew Mwenda.
Enanga again confirmed Kasumba was arrested for engaging in subversive activities, charges which he said were not related to his work as a journalist. However, Kasumba maintained the allegations against him were baseless.
And in 2019, three BBC journalists were arrested reportedly for illegal possession of government drugs.
The trio namely Godfrey Badebye, Mohamed Kissame, Rashid Kaweesa, and their driver, Shafiq Kisame were picked up from Makindye, a Kampala suburb, where they were meeting an unidentified medical officer to sell them government drugs. The journalists were investigating how government drugs are sold over the counter in private hospitals and chemists.
President Yoweri Museveni’s regime has increasingly attracted criticism for what analysts say is an affront towards journalism.
His son, General Muhoozi Kainerugaba has publicly promised to crush journalists when he becomes president.
Muhoozi tweeted: “For some of those journalists that like to abuse us…let me say. Nobody will protect you when we come to power! You’ll feel us soon. We will crush you!!!”