UNESCO Director-General condemns killing of second Ugandan journalist in three days
The Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova urged authorities in Uganda to launch a full investigation into the murder of radio news presenter Dickson Ssentongo on Monday 13 September. He is the second journalist to be killed in Uganda in three days.
“I condemn the brutal murder of Dickson Ssentongo,” Irina Bokova said. “The tragic killings of Mr Ssentongo and freelance journalist Paul Kiggundu three days earlier, sound the alarm for freedom of expression in Uganda and I urge the Ugandan authorities to leave no stone unturned in the efforts to find those responsible for these crimes.”
According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Dickson Ssentongo was beaten by unidentified assailants wielding metal bars while on his way to work at Prime Radio in Mukono District, central Uganda. He died in hospital several hours later.
Ssentongo, 29, had been a news presenter at Radio Prime for two years. According to the CPJ, Ssentongo was also politically active and regularly discussed the activities of various political parties on air.
On 10 September, freelance journalist Paul Kiggundu was killed by an angry crowd during a demonstration in the southern town of Rakai (see press release of 15 September).
UNESCO is the only United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this the Organization is requested to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”