The Minister of Information Frank Tumwebaze has castigated the media for taking political sides in reporting about the ongoing political events, saying the press has sidelined the ruling NRM. Tumwebaze accused journalists of giving the opposition more coverage than it offers to the government.
He made the statements on Wednesday during a news conference at the Office of the Prime Minister in which government gave its position on the proposed age limit amendment.
Tumwebaze said; “Political issues will always be hot and contested, otherwise there is no pluralism but there is concern about one sided reporting.”
“There is concern that many sections of our media sideline the NRM. If you give our opponents a two minute sound clip, give it to us as well. We can also talk and be heard,” he told journalists whom he said are “recruits” in political fights.
While he admitted that journalists harbour individual opinions, he urged them not to let it interfere with their professional work as independent reporters. “You can express your personal views on social media,” he said.
“Do not be part of the polarisation by taking sides in the contest. Be impartial umpires. Do not trade and promote one narrative,” Minister Tumwebaze stressed in his appeal to the press.
Giving the Leader of Opposition a 3 minute interview and the Prime Minister one second goes against the virtues of equity, fairness and balanced reporting which guide journalism, he said.
“If you condemn the arrest of Kyagulanyi, you should condemn that attack on Simeo Nsubuga as well. Don’t pamper the man who beats the NRM. Being the opposition does not make one credible. We were elected by the people.”
In supplement of the Information Minister’s claims, the Burahya County MP Margaret Muhanga who is also publicity secretary of the NRM caucus was similarly critical of the unfair political reportage in the wake of the age limit amendment debate.
“Kazo MP Gordon Bafakyi’s gate was burnt as well as the gateman’s house but this was never reported anywhere but every morning I see you [media] at the home of Kyagulanyi’s home where some funny, forged bombs were thrown in the compound and nothing serious happened,” Muhanga said.
She also faulted the press for keeping silent when MP Igara West Raphael Magyezi’s banana plantation was cut down in addition to NRM MPs whose lives are threatened but not given media coverage.