BBC journalists arrested for filming Abim hospital

BBC journalist Catherine Byaruhanga

Two journalists from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) were arrested Saturday evening for filming the now famous Abim hospital without authorisation.

David Ependu, the Abim District Police Commander, says Kelvin Brown and Catherine Byaruhanga were picked up for acting unprofessionally and being unapologetic for their conduct.

He says although the journalists claimed to have received authorisation from Ministry of Health in Kampala to film the hospital, they didn't have any proof. 

He said that the journalists later admitted that they didn't have clearance from the ministry as permanent secretary Dr Asuman Lukwago had delayed to clear them.

Abim hospital hospital became a national sensation after opposition and Forum for Democratic Change presidential candidate Kizza Besigye last year visited in tow with the media during his campaign trail - exposing its deplorable state and lack of basic services.

District authorities in an oversight and failing to fore read public reaction, threatened to suspend the nurses who guided Besigye around the hospital during his visit.

Government was quick to withdraw the suspension but has since declared hospitals and schools as no-go areas for presidential candidates and the media.
Ependu argues that although journalists have a right to access information, there are some limitations.

He couldn't explain which charges they have preferred against Brown and Byaruhanga, their fixer Sam Lawino and the driver who were detained at Abim Police station. 

They were later released and an apology issued to them reportedly on orders of the Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura.

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