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Stakeholders welcome this year’s WPFD focus on Environmental Reporting 

Published On May 9, 2024  |  by UHRC

The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) together with stakeholders under the Uganda Media Sector Working Group (UMSWG) have commemorated this year’s World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) with a focus on environmental reporting. 

While delivering his remarks during the main commemoration held at Makerere University, the Chairperson Hon. Mariam Wangadya represented by member of the Commission Hon. Crispin Kaheru, underscored the need for the right tools and facts in environmental reporting. 

“This WPFD commemoration is therefore timely to remind us all, especially those who wield the power of the pen that; with the right tools, choice of words, facts and support of one another, we have everything it takes to address environmental challenges that we are currently dealing with. It is equally important that duty bearers, especially those mandated with making appropriate laws and policies, recommit to equipping the journalism profession with all that is necessary to spotlight the environmental challenges,” Hon. Keheru noted during the National Dialogue to commemorate the day. 

He said the Commission remains committed to the protection and promotion of press and media freedoms and to take forward any recommendations from this year’s World Press Freedom Day. 

Member of the Commission Hon. Crispin Kaheru, underscored the need for the right tools and facts in environmental reporting. 

On his part, the Chairperson Media Council of Uganda Mr. Paul Ekochu who also represented the Minister for Information Technology and National Guidance (ICT & NG) emphasized the need for the media practitioners to steer clear of sensational reporting. 

The Head of Department for Journalism and Communication, Dr. Aisha Nakiwala who also later stood-in for the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe highlighted the importance of commemorating this day, to them as journalism trainers. 

“Every year, we join the Uganda Media Sector Working Group in commemorating this day so that we can make our humble contribution to this industry,” she said in her official remarks during this Friday commemoration held at the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology Conference Hall. 

L-R Dr Lugalambi, Hon. Kaheru, Media Council Chairperson Mr Paul Ekochu and Dr Nakiwala after delivering their respective speeches

In his opening remarks, the Coordinator of UMSWG Dr. George William Lugalambi noted that most times when one talks about Press Freedom, often times it is construed to mean freedom for journalists who cover politics or general news forgetting those who cover environment. 

“When it comes to allocating space, it is always other stories to come first with an excuse that environment stories are boring yet environmental challenges affect all of us. We therefore deemed it fit as UMSWG to focus on environmental reporting this time round so that we can catalyse support and interest of everyone to make the environmental beat attractive, “he said.

After the various speeches, the floor was opened for a Civil Society Organization TWAWEZA to present findings of its latest report on the environment before a panel discussion ensued under the theme: ‘A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the face of the Environmental Crisis.’  

The panel was chaired by Makerere Lecturer Dr. John Bosco Imokola and had panellists like experienced New Vision Environmental Reporter Mr. Gerald Tenywa, Celia Nalwadda, Principal Research officer at National Academy of Sciences, Mr. Pius Katunzi the managing Editor at the Observer Newspaper and Mr. Julius Kyamanywa, the station manager at Green radio in Kiboga district.

The event climaxed into an award ceremony where Mr. James Tumusiime the Founding CEO of the New Vision – now Vision Group, Mr. Phillip Wafula Ogutu the founding member of the Monitor Publication – Now Daily Monitor and Journalism and Communication Professor Linda Gorette Nasssanga who has done tremendous research and academic publication in environment and gender reporting. There was also tree planting as the last activity. 

The awardees Prof. Nassanga (C) and Mr. Ogutu (R)

The other partners in this year’s commemoration were; The African Centre for Media Excellence, Uganda Editors’ Guild, Media Focus on Africa, Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda, Health Journalists Network Uganda, Media Challenge Initiative, International Training Programme, Northern Uganda Media Club, Elgon Journalists’ Association, Umbrella for Journalists Kasese, and Teso Journalists for Community Empowerment. Over 150 people attended the event.    

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