The Media Council of Uganda has highlighted the need for the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) and other partners in the promotion of freedom of the press to join hands to mitigate the training needs of the media.
While closing the training for Journalists on Monday September 13, 2021 and Editors on Tuesday September 14, 2021 organized by the UHRC at Imperial Golf View Hotel, Mr. Peter Okello Jabweri a Member of the Media Council of Uganda, revealed how his organisation has a sizeable amount of resources for training journalists which can be tapped by the different partners.
“Together, we can build a profession that is respectable and not a profession that is un- coordinated,” Mr. Jabweri stated on behalf of the Media regulator. He said many journalists make misstates because they do not read extensively and in many instances have no access to continuous training opportunities. He said there is need for the media to move away from event reporting to interrogating government programmes and service delivery.
The UHRC Acting Chairperson, Hon. Meddie B. Mulumba who officially opened the trainings underscored the need for the citizens to appreciate the linkage and hence importance of the media to the individual’s freedom, especially freedom of speech and expression and access to information. He further called for the promotion and protection of the rights of media practitioners.
“It is important to note that the media also need to enjoy their freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution of Uganda under article 29, to effectively play their role in a democratic society. In order for them to effectively promote the rights of others, media practitioners need to enjoy their rights as professionals and also their rights as citizens within the acceptable Constitutional limits,” he stated.
He cautioned media practitioners against publishing unverified information and assured the participants of the Commission’s commitment to ensuring that members of the media too enjoy and realize their fundamental rights and freedoms.
The Head, UHRC Central Regional Office, Ms. Juliet Logose said the training were aimed at equipping Journalists with knowledge about the Commission’s mandate, appraising them with principles of Human Rights and the Human Rights Approach (HRBA) to Journalism as well as charting ways on what should be done to strengthen working relations between the Commission and the media.
The two trainings that were organized by Commission through its Central Regional Office drew a total of 35 journalists from various media houses within Kampala area and 20 Editors under their umbrella organization the Editors’ Guild. The participants were taken through various sessions by different facilitators who included Dr. Adolf Mbaine of the Department of Journalism and Communication, Makerere University who handled the topic on safeguarding Human Rights through Compliance with Journalism Code of Ethics.
The other facilitators were from the Commission and these included Ms. Logose, the Head Central Regional Office who presented an overview of the Principles of Human Rights; while Ms. Ida Nakiganda, the Director Complaints, Investigation and Legal Services (CIL) took the participants through the UHRC complaints handling procedures. Another presentation by the Director Research Education and Documentation (RED) Mr. Byonabye Kamadi was on the UHRC mandate, functions and powers with specific emphasis on how it executes its promotional mandate. Participants were also introduced to the concept of the Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA) to Journalism by Ms. Rosemary Kemigisha, the Commission’s Senior Human Rights Officer and Editor.
Mr. Alex B. Atuhaire of Post Media Ltd (pmldail.com) Daily News outlet who is Treasurer and Head of Secretariat of Uganda Editor’s Guild together with Mr. Herbert Kamoga of Nation Television, on behalf of the participants presented recommendations on how to strengthen the UHRC-Media partnership. Some of the key recommendations jointly agreed upon were for UHRC to continuously update the media about its activities and events; Editors to closely follow UHRC engagements in order to reduce on time and protocols for getting information from Commission officials; and for UHRC to always embed the media on its field visits. They also agreed to create a WhatsApp group for UHRC and Editors to ease communication.