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Rights group accuses Uganda government of threatening independent media

[JURIST] The government of Uganda [JURIST news archive] has been intimidating members of the media [HRW press release] since before the February 23 presidential elections [JURIST report], including filing criminal charges against some journalists for their work, according to a statement [HRW report] issued by Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] Tuesday. The watchdog group detailed several instances where the government has punished reporters, including denying an entry visa [CP report] last week to a Canadian journalist reporting for the Washington Times [media website] and the Economist [media website] who had lived in Uganda for three years. Authorities called Blake Lambert a threat to national security without explanation and accused him of "misrepresenting" events including the prosecution of defeated presidential candidate Kizza Besigye [BBC profile, JURIST news archive] for charges of terrorism, possessing firearms, and rape [JURIST report].

The rights watchdog noted that since the reelection of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni [BBC profile] more reporters and media members have faced criminal charges for promoting sectarianism, violating the law by broadcasting on election day, and for accusations that they "excited dissatisfaction" with the current president. Reuters has more.

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