Media Practitioners Split Over Journalist's Manifesto

4594 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Mariam Nalubega, the chairperson of the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Media, explains that the manifesto was crafted following consultations and views gathered from about 200 journalists across the country.

Media practitioners have expressed reservation over the newly launched Journalists' Manifesto 2016. Some of the journalists say the manifesto is not comprehensive enough and is lacking in content.




The manifesto, which was launched by Information Minister, Gen. Jim Muhwezi at Speke Resort, Munyonyo on Tuesday, spells out guidelines for journalists during the coverage of the 2016 general elections.
 

 
Key of the guidelines include the restraint by media houses to release election results from independent tally centers, through scrutiny of opinion polls before they are published, providing equal coverage to all
aspirants or candidates and space to each candidate to make their case to allow the population to make informed choices.



 
Others are avoiding hate speech; free and fair reporting, as well as information verification on the electoral process before it is published.



Mariam Nalubega, the chairperson of the Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Media, explains that the manifesto was crafted following consultations and views gathered from about 200 journalists across the country.



However, James Kigozi, the Executive Director of Uganda Media Development Foundation (UMDF) notes that the consultations were inadequate and don't reflect the views of all journalists in the country.


//Cue In: I think…
Cue Out…our manifesto//



Margaret Ssentamu, the Director of Uganda Women Media Association (UMWA) agrees. According to Ssentamu, the scope of receiving views from the media was limited to a small number.


She suggests that another forum is organized where more comprehensive guidelines are formulated.



//Cue In: This is…
Cue Out:…this point//



Another media practitioner, who attended the launch but declined to be quoted on record, says the manifesto is shallow and not well thought out.


He suggests that the media should adopt the guidelines on media coverage which were formulated by the African Center for Media Excellence (ACME) in 2010.



"The MPs should have consulted ACME on this so that they are able to have a revised framework of the 2010 guidelines," the source said.


However, Nalubega insists that the guidelines are relevant and in due time, a more comprehensive framework will be drafted in consultation with more stakeholders. She adds that the guidelines should be adopted by all media houses so that they are binding.
 

 

About the author

Olive Eyotaru
Olive Eyotaru is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Eyotaru has been a URN staff member since February 2015.

Eyotaru started practising journalism while still studying at Uganda Christian University. She was a reporter with Ultimate Media Consult Ltd between 2005 and 2007.

In 2009, Eyotaru joined Monitor Publications Limited, under KFM Radio as a parliamentary and business reporter. Consequently, Eyotaru started writing for the Daily Monitor newspaper until January 2015, when she moved to URN.

She is interested in reporting about politics, health, human rights, business and sports.