Remmy Bahati a journalist with NBS Television was arrested on March 1, 2016, by the Uganda Police Force as she relayed live events that were unfolding at the road leading to the home of opposition politician and former presidential candidate, Dr. Kizza Besigye, who is under house arrest at Kasangati. Her cameraman, Badebye Godfrey was hit in the head by police and occasioning him severe pain. A Forum for Democratic Change official, Ingird Turinawe, who protested Bahati’s arrest was also arrested and allegedly stripped naked before she was pushed into a van similar to the one used to arrest Besigye.
Four police officers and men in civilian clothes chased after and arrested Bahati as she relayed live the events. She was arrested and manhandled before pushing her into a tinted police van that was packed on the scene. She was detained at Kasangati police station for 30 minutes from where she was released without charge by the Police’s Director of Human Resource, Andrew Felix Kaweesi who sternly warned the journalist from camping at the road heading to Besigye’s home.
Immediately after her release, Bahati told HRNJ-Uganda that she was beaten and manhandled. “I was covering a story at the home of Besigye, when police arrested and detained me at Kasangati police station. While in the police van I was beaten and hair pulled by police officers inside the van. My cameraman Badebye Godfrey was also hit on the head and he is in severe pain. I was treated in a very inhuman manner; even when I offered myself to be arrested, the policemen beat me up and pulled my hair. They kept pushing me around.”
Bahati becomes the fifteenth journalist to be arrested and manhandled since February 27.
“The situation has become very pathetic for the media to operate. The Police have completely made it a crime to report opposition related activities by both the local and international journalists. The media stakeholders all need to come out to forge a pathway for the media. Drastic measures may be sought for in order to address this precarious situation. The media is evidently under attack by the State.” Said the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssemapla.