Introduction to Journalism Safety and Threats


This lesson seeks to equip trainees with basic knowledge on the risks and threats faced by journalists in Uganda. This will focus on the following;

  • The scope of threats facing journalists today both globally and domestically
  • Understanding the leading threats facing journalists.
  • Risky assignments for journalists
  • Guarding against the threats

Course material

It is common knowledge that Journalism and a free press is at the frontline of the right to freedom of expression and access to information, and we all wish that journalists must be able to carry out their work without fear of reprisal or intimidation. However, this is not the case. According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF) more than 750 journalists have been killed since 2005 in the course of, or as a result of, their work. They have been targeted because they are journalists and their stories and investigations are a threat to the propaganda of one side or the other. The deaths included war correspondents, investigative reporters, researchers, analysts and everyday working on very sensitive stories. Sadly, majority of this violence goes unpunished.

In the Ugandan case, with a non-conflict situation, attacks on journalists are often perpetrated by organized criminal gangs, militias, political groupings, and police and sister security agencies, making journalists very vulnerable.

The following are the threats journalists face

  •         Kidnaps/abductions
  •         Harassments
  •         Murder
  •         Intimidation
  •         Arbitrary detention and torture
  •         Broad day beatings
  •         Confiscation  of  equipment
  •         Enforced  exile
  •         Sexual  harassment
  •         Arbitrary   surveillance
  •         Criminal mugging/ assault
  •         Unjust laws/vague regulatory framework which rides on colonial laws
  •         Digital and cyber-attacks