JOURNALISTS have been detained or beaten recently in three East African countries - Uganda, Sudan, and Kenya. Uganda's military government has held at least two journalists for asking tough questions of (and allegedly offending) visiting Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda at a recent press conference in Kampala, Uganda.
Festo Ebongo, one of the journalists, asked Mr. Kaunda why Zambia continued to trade with South Africa, despite international sanctions. Mr. Ebongo writes for the Ugandan government newspaper New Vision and contributes to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
Sudan's military government has detained Kenya-based British journalist Julian Ozanne, who writes for the Financial Times, a London newspaper. Mr. Ozanne was picked up by officials Feb. 21 and has been repeatedly questioned, though apparently not physically harmed.
In Kenya, television journalist Mohamed Shaffi was knocked down and beaten by a member of Kenya's paramilitary force, the General Service Unit. Mr. Shaffi was filming members of the GSU beating and kicking two civilians. The two had been pulled from a car during riots that broke out in downtown Nairobi last Friday after the funeral of Robert Ouko, Kenya's foreign minister. A GSU officer appeared and halted the beating, according to an eyewitness.
Kenyan police commissioner Philip Kilonzo said in a Monitor interview Tuesday that he is conducting a review of security personnel actions in the riots to see if anyone exceeded his powers.