Uganda: Government Tasks Media Houses to Polish Their Journalism

20 November 2019

The ministry of information communication technology has tasked media owners to invest in quality of journalism in their newsrooms so as to professionalize the industry and weed out quacks.

Addressing media owners and editors in Kampala on Tuesday, Frank Tumwebaze the ICT minister castigated media houses that have preferred to hire 'comics' who cannot moderate topics on talk shows which add value to the audiences of the media houses and hold leaders accountable.

"Do not take your audiences for granted, feed us on what we value, the media should unite people with the content, knowledge, train journalists in specific areas lest you regurgitate public relations because a news reporter should be able to moderate the interests of the consumers," he said as he addressed the media practitioners who were attending the DW Akademie Futures Project-Fostering Media Viability in East Africa Initiative by the German Radio Deutsche Well.

Eva Georgia, a media viability expert, who has been training media organisations in Kenya, Uganda Zambia, Ghana and South Africa among other countries on how to create sustainable revenue streams, advised the media houses to stop looking at money as the only means to survive in the market.

She said that with good quality journalism, a media house can survive if it practices good quality journalism, respects it audiences, uses technology and it values the community where it operates.

"Media houses have been depending on advertising revenue for sustainability but they need to devise other sources. Invest in the technology and the journalists, know your audiences and respect them," she adding that in Uganda, media houses should be grateful that they have loyal audiences.

Miriam Gehrke, a media development officer for DW Akademie explained that the Media Challenge initiative is an initiative funded by the German ministry for development and economic cooperation aiming at equipping African Media houses with skills to generate income that sustains their operations using high quality fact based content which is relevant to audiences and establish a network of media houses that can exchange experiences for fruit full debates using new models.

Mpiindi Abaas the Chief Executive Officer the Media challenge Initiative explained that the Futures Project for Media Viability in East Africa is an initiative to find new and profitable ways of generating and distributing quality journalistic content that reaches audiences and satisfies their local information needs and it will have an intellectual and practical innovation Centre based at Aga Khan University in Kenya and a network of local media organizations from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania (Media Viability Network) which will provide knowledge and skills to bolster small and medium sized media houses in the region.

"With this structure in place, the Futures Project aims to become a regional alliance of media innovators, established news and content organizations, journalists, scholars and business entrepreneurs," he said.

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