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Journalists get ‘2016 manifesto’

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Information Minister Maj.Gen.Jim Muhwezi.
Information Minister Maj.Gen.Jim Muhwezi.


The Uganda Parliamentary Forum on media (UPFM) has today launched a journalists’ manifesto 2016 as a reminder and commitment by journalists to act professionally come the 2016 general elections.

The six-point manifesto was launched by the Minister of Information and National Guidance, Maj .Gen. Jim Muhwezi at the Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort hotel in Kampala.

According to the manifesto, journalists are required to verify information before broadcasting, publishing or printing; properly handle opinion polls and not to have independent tally centres during vote counting.

Other points are to perform free, fair and balanced reporting, to offer a right to reply to all candidates and to avoid hate speech, inappropriate language and reference to ethnicity.

At the function several MPs and politicians cautioned journalists to desist from unprofessionalism, saying that the media risked being ostracized if they failed to respect other peoples’ rights in their reporting.

“We have a high degree of unprofessionalism in the media today …and this has failed to merge it with politicians, some of these reporters are not objective,” said Onyango Kakoba.

Kakoba, the Buikwe North MP, is himself a former journalist.

But the journalists were not cowed, and they the politicians to work hand in hand with them for the development of the country.

“The role of the media is a national role and as Members of Parliament, you have a role to play so we shall change the way we work if we complement each other,” Florence Apolot, a news producer at Urban TV, said.

Media house proprietors were not spared of criticism; with claims that they poorly remunerate their employees and that some others act unethically.

“The media appointment is poor, some people are said to be appointed on probation but after five years, they remain on probation,” said Joseph Ssewungu, the Kalungu West MP.

He said the committee has plans to name and shame media houses that underpay their workers in the bid to improve the welfare of journalists.

He argued that this is the main reason that brings about lack of professionalism in the media.

Meanwhile, in a statement signed by the UPFM chairperson Mariam Nansubuga, she reflected on the chaos that ensued after the presidential polls of Kenya in December 2007 and interlinked it with the need to have the ‘journalists manifesto’ in Uganda.

“The four reflective dialogues on this campaign and election reporting that took place in the four regions of Uganda were inspired by the events that led to the Kenyan post-election violence of 2007,” Ms Nansubuga, a media practitioner and activist, wrote.



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