Rights group accuses Uganda of media intimidation ahead of elections

Ugandan journalists and rights activists are facing increased intimidation from the authorities in the run-up to the February 18 presidential and parliamentary elections, Human Rights Watch said Monday.

The elections will pit President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, against his former premier Amama Mbabazi and former army officer Kizza Besigye.

"While print journalists working in English have some relative freedom, radio journalists – particularly those working in local languages whose listeners are based in rural areas – face harassment and threats from an array of government and party officials," the rights group said.

Journalists have been suspended under government pressure, and radio stations threatened for hosting opposition members or government critics, according to the report.

The government has also clamped down on organizations working on human rights, including voter education, which have faced visits from police and closure of meetings, HRW said.

The group interviewed more than 170 journalists, activists, members of political parties and witnesses for the report.

Government spokesman Shaban Bantariza denied the allegations. "We have been carrying out free and fair elections for years and continue to do so," he said.

"If the population was not informed, many ministers and members of parliament would not have lost their seats" in the recent ruling party primaries to elect candidates for the parliamentary elections, Bantariza said.

Last update: Mon, 11/01/2016 - 04:37

More from World

US abstains for first time from UN vote condemning Cuban embargo

The United States abstained for the first time in 24 years from a vote in the UN General Assembly urging an end to...

Venezuelans demand end to "dictatorship" as tensions surge

Venezuela's political crisis escalated Wednesday as the opposition announced a general strike and threatened to...

Monitor: Death toll rises to 35 in bombing of Syrian rebel village

The death toll from Wednesday's airstrikes near a school complex in a rebel-held village in north-western Syria has...

US pushing for TTIP deal ahead of Obama's Germany trip

The United States said Wednesday it is continuing to push forward with a US-European trade agreement with the "...

2016 deadliest year for migrants in Mediterranean, UN agency says

This year has been the deadliest ever for migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe, with at least 3,800...