Journalists asked to meet challenges of modern media practices

KABALE– The Chairman of the Media Council of Uganda Paulo Ekochu has underscored the importance of having vibrant and professional media practitioners in order for them to meet the challenges of modern technological needs in the media industry.

Ekochu made this revelation while addressing the journalists who were attending a 2-day media engagement meeting at Kirigime Guest House in  Kabale Municipality organized by the Media Council of Uganda under the theme, ” The drive for a responsible media in Uganda”.

He said that the Media Council of Uganda established by Section 8(i) of the Press and Journalists Act has the mandate to promote a free, responsible press and regulate the mass media in Uganda.

He reminded the participants that Uganda is the only country in Africa that has allowed freedom of speech to thrive but this has given loopholes for some people to go against established guidelines to promote free media practices.

The Chairman of the Media Council of Uganda Paulo Ekochu addressed the journalists

He however said that there are many challenges that have emerged with technological advancement which the media practitioners must come into terms with in order to be able to deliver accurate information to the masses.

The Secretary of Media Council of Uganda David Kyetume Kasanga told the journalists that the media practitioners need to do their work within the confines of the established laws thus calling upon the media owners and managers to ensure that they understand the legal framework of their operations in order to operate without hindrance.

Kyetume enumerated several legal framework procedures that media owners and practitioners must follow, such as registration of their media houses and acquisitions of an operational permit all of which are in accordance with the established laws.

Trainers who included JB Wasswa from Makerere University said that Uganda’s media will thrive if the practitioners practice their work professionally without reporting issues that mislead the general public.

Other trainers included Charles Odoobo Bichachi, the Public Editor of Nation Media Group who asked journalists to account for their work and what they feed the general public, while a member of the Media Council of Uganda Peter Okello Jabweri told the journalists to practice journalism based on professional training.

Others included Gerald Businge from Ultimate Media Consults who took the journalists through digital media practices and asked them to always distinguish between factual from fake news.

Richard Mugwisagye, from the Uganda Police Force, asked the media practitioners to follow established laws when practicing their work to avoid confrontation with security forces while the head of Legal Services in Uganda Communications Commission Abdul Sallawu Waiswa asked journalists to do their work within the confines of the law.

The training which attracted participants from Kisoro, Rubanda, Rukiga, Kabale, Rukungiri, and Kanungu will come to climax on Thursday afternoon after an award of certificates to over 100 journalists from both print and electronic media.

 

MEDIA COUNCIL OF UGANDA REGISTRATION OF PRESS AND MEDIA:

Media is a channel of communication through which we disseminate news, music, movies, education, promotions of messages and other data. It includes physical and online. Newspapers, magazines, television, radio, billboards, telephone, internet, fax and email.

Jim Morrison once said “whoever controls the media controls the mind”. This is more than just a statement but a caution; media can easily mend a person, or corrupt a person hence media personnel have to be wary of what they feed people to build a nation. Media is growing worldwide at a fast rate where now any one can actually disseminate news through online means. Creation of social media, twitter, WhatsApp, tik-tok, Facebook has made spread of news even more versatile.

In Uganda media is involved with printing, television, radio, and online sectors and its coverage is split between both state and private outlets.  In 1990s the Uganda posts and telecommunications corporation had a monopoly over Uganda’s communication sector until Uganda communication Act was enacted in 1997. The act created Uganda Communication Commission which currently regulates communication in Uganda. In 1953,there was only one radio in Uganda(Radio Uganda) and in 1963,UBC Tv was introduced .After the liberalization of the sector in 1993 a tremendous growth of radio and TV stations has been experienced in Uganda .Today Uganda is blessed with 315 radio stations,30 television stations,60 print publications and over 70 online publications.

In 1995, media council was established by the Press and Journalist Act. This was charged with regulation of mass media with the objective to ensure there is freedom of press and to establish and regulate mass media and any disputes within or related to the industry. According to article 10(1) of the press and journalist act 1995 cap 105; (1) the council has to regulate the conduct and promote good ethical standards and discipline of journalists.

With advance of technology there is need to ensure that there is regulation and no misuse of media activities, hence media council of Uganda under section 5 of the Press and Journalist Act which provides for the registration of particulars relating to an editor including other details as prescribed by the council issued a notice in August 2021 urging all editors, publishers and broadcasters to register their editors with media council.

Registration prohibits libel or injuring reputation of others by slanderous communication, it promotes privacy and prohibits violence. With registration, journalists will be able to work together regardless of what media house they belong to, leads to authenticity of media practitioners, media personnel are protected from brutality especially when they are trying to get access to information, enhance professionalism among media practitioners and it enables making training programs easy for journalist.

Media is a powerful tool especially with mending people’s minds because public trusts what they see, read and hear on media hence it’s registration will build confidence and trust with public and government. Identification of one from the rest creates respect of the news you carry and also protects one while seeking for justice.

Co-regulation takes centre stage at consultative meet.

CO-REGULATION TAKES CENTRE STAGE AT CONSULTATIVE MEET

By Hillary Turyasingura

The need for a co-regulation of the media has dominated the consultative engagement on reforms of select media laws and practice in Uganda.

The consultative engagement organised by the Ministry of Information, Communications Technology and National Guidance, in conjunction with the Media Council of Uganda, was held on Thursday 28th November 2019 at Mestil Hotel in Kampala.

Journalists, members of the Media Council, Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, representatives from the United Nations Development Programme, the academia and other stakeholders attended the one-day meeting.

Professor Monicah Chibita, dean of the Faculty of Journalism and Communication at Uganda Christian University, who gave the Keynote Speech, stressed that amidst individualisation, freedom of speech and of expression as well as media freedom must be exercised rightly. She, therefore, called for the need to regulate the media in order for the public interest to be known without violating the rights of citizens.

Participants observed that the media in Uganda had not reached a level of self-regulation. They highlighted that there was need for all stakeholders to join efforts and make laws which will address the tremendous change from traditional to new media.

The Commissioner for Information Dissemination and Communication in the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, Moses Watasa observed that the media was doing a great job in the country. However, he noted that everyone had become a journalist, heralding the need for statutory regulation.

This, he said, was a result of new technologies in the media space and many mistakes which called for co-regulation of the media. He explained that in some professions such as Medicine and Law self-regulation is made a necessity by the nature of what they do.

Annet Mpabulungi Wakabi, UNDP’s team leader on the Rule of Law and Constitutional Democracy Programme

The need for co-regulation was supported by the Media Council Chairperson, Paul Ekochu who was among the key speakers of the day. Panellists Dr Emily Maractho, a lecturer at Uganda Christian University, Peter Okello Jabweli, a member of the Media Council, and Giles Muhame, managing director of an online news site Chimpreports, among others, all called for co-regulation.

Annet Mpabulungi Wakabi, UNDP’s team leader on the Rule of Law and Constitutional Democracy Programme, represented the UNDP Resident Representative in Uganda, Elsie Attafuah. She also supported the co-regulation idea, noting that Uganda had over 18 million internet subscribers, with 14 million subscribers on mobile telephony. She said they could not be ignored.

The new Secretary to the Media Council who doubles as a Principal Information Officer in the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, Kyetume Kasanga reminded participants that Government was committed to providing free access to public information. For that matter, he noted, Parliament had enacted the Access to Information Act as the enabling law.

Media Council Uganda Press Tag Symbology

As you are aware, Government recognises the media as rendering an essential service of informing, sensitising and educating the public on the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Media Council of Uganda yesterday started issuing press tags to journalists whose editors sent in their particulars as earlier requested. The tag is to be used for identification purposes during coverage of COVID-19 in the field. However, it is not required during the joint daily security briefings at the Uganda Media Centre. Attached is the sample tag with its features explained.

 

This is to request the print and digital media to carry it on their platforms and TV stations to display it to the public. You are also requested to forward it to your other platforms, including WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook. The purpose is to guard against forgery of the press tag and to minimise interruptions of journalists by security personnel.

For any enquiry or clarification, please, call Mr Paulo Ekochu, Chairman of the Media Council of Uganda on 0772 711711 or 0700711711 E-mail: paule@gplawug.com or the Secretary to the Media Council, Mr Kyetume Kasanga on 0772 516456 E-Mail: kasanga.kyetume@ict.go.ug and dkkasanga10@gmailcom.