Uganda Wildlife Authority and WildAid have recognized outstanding journalists for their role in Conservation.
Through the inaugural Uganda Conservation Media Awards, the journalists with outstanding reporting about wildlife conservation and environmental issues in Uganda were awarded at a ceremony held at Protea Hotel, Kampala.
Recognizing the critical role the media plays in raising awareness, the awards aimed to encourage, motivate, and inspire journalists to produce the best in conservation reporting. The response was very encouraging.
The Executive Director of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, Sam Mwandha described the awards as a testament of the potential of media to drive conservation.
“These awards represent far more than a recognition of talent; they are a testament to the potential of media to drive the conservation agenda”.
“The stories the photographs and the documentaries that grace our newspapers, radios, television screens, and websites serve an educative role and are a powerful reminder of the urgent need to protect our natural world,” said Mwandha who also represented the Minister of State for Tourism Wildlife and Antiquities, Martin Mugarra.
He challenged UWA to ensure that the awards are annual and budgeted for. He congratulated the journalists for always highlighting and promoting the different conservation and tourist attractions in Uganda.
Mugarra thanked WildAid and UWA for their support of the awards saying the commitment exemplifies the spirit of collaboration in conservation.
Meanwhile, Simon Denyer, Africa Program Manager at WildAid and one of the judges said, “We are delighted to partner with UWA for the awards, these are the first awards to Support in Africa, we specialize in mass media campaigns, since 2017 we have been raising awareness on wildlife and environment.”
Adding, “This was a perfect opportunity to reward high-quality media content to improve the quality of reporting about these issues. We have heard great quality, we believe wildlife and environmental issues are reported increasingly and better, such that the general public will positively improve towards conservation.”
“This dream, this vision of recognizing outstanding journalists for their dedication to conservation reporting was born out of a deep-seated passion for our natural world,” said Bashir Hangi, Manager of Communication and Public Relations, at Uganda Wildlife Authority.
“It was an extremely competitive field of entries, and in some cases hard to decide on a single winner,” said Denyer. “I was encouraged to see so many important issues tackled and such a broad range of journalists entering. I would like to thank everyone who took part, and especially congratulate the winners.”
A panel of four judges received more than 140 entries across 13 categories and spent weeks carefully considering and marking each entry according to clearly defined criteria, acting completely independently.
Marks were then tallied, and winners were determined based on the highest marks obtained.
The following emerged winners:
Community conservation, print/online.
Gerald Tenywa, New Vision, Gorillas give dollars to Kanungu, Kisoro residents.
Community conservation, radio (tie, award shared).
Denis Omony, 102 Mega FM, Impact of revenue sharing on communities around Murchison Falls National Park.
Odota Adubango Moureen, Voice of Lango FM, Lango communities plant trees for charcoal, and firewood to save endangered species.
Community conservation, television/video.
Simon Chris Makanga, Athari Media Support Africa (AMSA), The invisible climate activists.
Wildlife protection, print/online.
Timothy Murungi, New Vision, Bwambale: Reformed poacher preaching conservation.
Wildlife protection, radio.
Michael Wambi, Uganda Radio Network, Earth Day 2023: Ugandans who have tirelessly fought to protect our wildlife.
Wildlife protection, television/video.
Leon Ssenyange, China Global Television Network (CGTN), Uganda lion population under threat.
Wildlife crime, print/online.
Edward Anyoli, New Vision, Why Uganda is a haven for wildlife traffickers.
Wildlife crime, radio.
Peter Labeja, Radio Rupiny, Distant justice: Last agony of former poachers in Nwoya district.
Wildlife crime, television/video.
Richard Olweny, NBS Television, Baboons being poached for rituals.
Habitats and environment, print/online.
Diana Taremwa Karakire, freelance, Oil money heralds trouble for Uganda’s indigenous Bagungu tribe, environment,
Habitats and environment, radio.
Chowoo Willy, Choice FM, Climate change causing increased spread of invasive species in the national parks.
Habitats and environment, television/video.
David Ssozi, News 24/7, Bees, hunger, and Kampala’s air pollution.
Wildlife photograph of the year.
Atuhairwe Nelson Nelytiez, HD Media, Save elephants.
Winners were given a cash award of UGX 5,000,000, a winner’s plaque, a certificate, and free entry to Uganda’s national parks for one year.