The editors and directors of one of Uganda’s most popular tabloid newspapers have been detained over what authorities called a fake news story about a political plot implicating the president.
Police yesterday besieged the paper’s premises in Namanve.
Police spokesperson Emillian Kayima says they were arrested in relation to a story published in the paper on 20th November that had false and inciting information.
Those arrested include Arinaitwe Rugyendo, James Mujuni, Richard Tusiime, and Johnson Byabaraha.
Kayima said the Red Pepper offices will remain cordoned off until police are done with its investigations.
Yesterday, the Police secured a search warrant from Buganda Court to conduct search on the media house, including searching laptops, computers and other documents.
Police said the article has a grave implication on the national and regional security and stability.
Unconfirmed reports indicate that the editors of the local tabloid are being detained at Nalufenya, in Jinja district.
Currently, the Red Pepper offices are closed and it’s staff are not allowed to access the premises.
Both Red Pepper and other products published by the same media house are not on the market today.
“The Red Pepper offices are a scene of crime and have been cordoned off to facilitate investigations and remain as long as it’s necessary,” said Emilian Kayima, the Police spokesperson.
Many Journalists and media houses are living in fear since CMI started arresting some top Police officials.
Some have been summoned to appear before CID Police headquarters, Kibuli for interrogations on issues related to infringing the peace of IGP Gen Kale Kayihura.
This is not the first time Police are closing RedPepper offices. In 2013, the local tabloid offices were closed after publishing Gen. David Sejusa’s dossier, in which he alleged that the President was preparing his son Brigadier Muhoozi Kainerugaba. They were opened after securing a court order.
The story in question, published on Monday, said President Yoweri Museveni was plotting to overthrow his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame.
Besides being false the story was a threat to regional security, police spokesperson Emillian Kayima said.
“The Uganda police force initiated investigations into the serious statements and insinuations in that story, that have grave implications on national and regional security and stability,” Kayima added.
The article, a version of which first appeared in Rwandan media, was carried by the Red Pepper and other publications owned by the publisher, and claimed a Ugandan plot to destabilise neighbouring Rwanda.
The newspaper’s lawyer Dickens Byamukama said the eight directors and editors are being detained at Nalufenya prison outside the capital Kampala.
“Their phones, laptops were confiscated, plus other official and private equipment,” Byamukama said, adding that the Red Pepper’s premises have been cordoned off. The newspaper did not appear on newsstands on Wednesday.