Uganda: Charges against journalist dropped—after five years

| October 26, 2015

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Journalist Timothy Kalyegira has regained his freedom after a magistrate at Kampala City Hall Court dismissed criminal defamation charges brought against him five years ago.

The Uganda chapter of Human Rights Network for Journalists, or HRNJ-U, said that the court dismissed the charge that Mr. Kalyegira had defamed the president of Uganda. The magistrate ruled that there was “no strong and convincing reason” to continue with the case.

HRNJ-U has noted a steady increase in “trumped up” criminal defamation charges against journalists in recent years. Over a dozen journalists in Uganda have charges pending.

In a statement, HRNJ-U says: “These wanton actions of the police and the Directorate of Public Prosecution have caused feelings of distress and depression [among journalists].They don’t know [how to differentiate between] what … amounts to criminal defamation … [and] factual reporting and fair comments.”

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Photo credit: HRNJ-Uganda