MPs: Government To Blame For 'Unprofessional' Media


remedy sans-serif; color: #222222;”>The call was made by a number of Members of Parliament, find and media buy sans-serif; color: #222222;”>experts at a seminar held by Uganda Journalists Association to enhance the quality of journalism in the country.

President Yoweri Museveni has often times been reluctant to heed to numerous petitions from media house owners to subsidise their cost of operations, who he accuses of not contributing much to the development of the economy other than working to scare off potential investors with screaming headlines about instability, unrest and human rights violations.

For working tirelessly to expose only the bad image about the country, and cheering the opposition political parties, Museveni was recently reported as saying “the Ugandan media houses would be treated as ‘enemies of Uganda’s economic recovery”.

The president’s philosophy was shared by Kasambya County MP, Hon Patrick Mulindwa, at the Tuesday’s Seminar in Kampala, who said that Uganda’s key economic development factors such as foreign investment and tourism continue to face a lot of furious threats from the media, which he branded as “terribly unpatriotic”.

“Our tourism for instance, still languishes at the bottom, with a few elephants and lions in national parks, while in developed countries in Europe and Middle East, tourists are paying billions of dollars to visits buildings, towers and other magnificent manmade sites,” Mulindwa pointed out.

He added: “Instead of helping government to grow the small industry there is, the media is busy destroying Uganda’s image abroad. Why then must you favour from government when you have ruined your relationship yourselves?

However, the media and opposition parliamentarians in attendance were quick to lash out at Hon Mulindwa’s stance, saying that pushing governments’ misdeeds under the carpet flouts the very principles of journalism as a profession.

“The Ugandan government cannot change the principles of journalism to fit its development interests,” said Kalungu West MP, Joseph Sewungu.

“Whether it’s about helping develop the economy, news remains news and journalists will report only that that their audiences want to hear, because this is a business.”

The only solution is, that government rectifies its mistakes, keep a clean record so that the media is deprived of anything negative to write about it.

Dr. Adolf Mbaine, a journalism professor at Makerere University, also lashed out at government efforts to stifle media operations through clampdowns and introduction of draconian laws and policies that curtail the freedoms of journalists in the country.

“Government ought to understand that Freedom of the press is not freedom of reporters or media house owners, but freedom of the citizens. An effort to foil a free media environment is a direct blow to the fundamental rights and freedoms of Ugandans as a population,” he said.

“Any serious country, therefore, must critically investigate reports of journalists being harassed intimidated, beaten and having their equipment confiscated by security operatives especially in the times of scuffle.”


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