The Minister for Information Communication Technology and National Guidance, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, has said that Uganda is among the few countries that liberalized journalism and media practice which has seen tremendous growth of media space.
He said Uganda now boasts of 42 Television stations and 320 radio stations down from one TV and Radio station; Uganda Television (UTV) and Radio Uganda respectively in 1986.
Baryomunsi was speaking at the closure of the journalists’ 5-day Residential Symposium on Socio-economic transformation at Kyambogo University grounds on Saturday.
About the poor pay, a concern raised by the president of Uganda Journalists’ Association (UJA) Mr. Mathias Rukundo, the Minister acknowledged that majority of these (journalists) are employed by private media practitioners and the government is engaging the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to see how they can address the concerns of journalists.
He, however, cautioned the media practitioners to remain ethical and professional despite the unpleasant working conditions.
“We need patriotic journalists in Uganda so that when we report, we don’t report to damage our country but to build it. You should appreciate that you are Ugandans and that you should report positively. Despite the poor pay, let us remain professional and ethical,” Dr Baryomunsi said.
About confrontation between journalists and security, Dr Baryomunsi revealed that they have engaged police and other security agencies to appreciate the work of journalists and improve how they interact with them especially when reporting about sensitive matters.
According to the organizer who is also the Personal Assistant to the President on Youth Affairs, Ms. Hellen Seku, the training attracted 562 participants from across Ugandan of which 134 are female.
She said journalists received orientation from keynote speakers who included among others; Brig Gen Felix Kulayigye (Army Spokesperson), Hon. Richard Todwong (NRM Secretary General), Dr. Chris Baryomunsi (Minister for ICT & National Guidance), Lt Gen Peter Elweru (Deputy CDF), Maj. Gen. Sam Kavuma (UPDF Deputy Commander of Land Forces), Ms. Jane Barekye (State House Comptroller), Brig Gen. Charity Bainababo (Deputy Commander SFC), Maj Gen. Kahinda Otafiire (Minister for Internal Affairs), Prof Mulindwa Rutanga, Mr. Ofwono Opondo (Executive Director of Uganda Media Center) and renowned veteran journalist Tonny Geofrey Owana.
Ms. Seku told the President that the objective of the training was to share knowledge with the young journalists, ranging from patriotism, human rights, socio-economic transformation, effective communication, financial literacy, public health among others.
“Your Excellence Sir, I’m quite confident that the participants before you are going to be our ground ambassadors since they have achieved sufficient knowledge which they will use in execution of their duties going forward,” Ms. Seku said.
The meeting was also attended and addressed by the Vice Chancellor of Kyambogo University Prof. Eli Katunguka-Rwakishaya.
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