Majority of Ugandans trust media – report

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Coverage. Journalists cover an event in Kampala on Friday. Today is World Press Freedom Day. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

By EPHRAIM KASOZI

Majority of citizens across the country appreciate journalists and the media for making a positive contribution to the development of Uganda, a new report has revealed.

The report dubbed: “Ugandan citizens’ views and experiences on the media and freedom of expression”, shows that 82 per cent of the citizens hold the view that the media make a positive contribution to the country, contrary to the assertions that the media holds back development through mistakes, dishonesty and bias.
“Citizens are also positive about the role of international media when reporting on Uganda. A small majority (53 per cent) say they would be proud if their son or daughter became a journalist. Six out of 10 citizens (58 per cent) see Ugandan journalists as professional, compared to one out of 10 (9 per cent) who disagree,” reads the report.

The report also indicates that 56 per cent of the people say the Ugandan media is reliable and accurate, compared to a small number (12 per cent) who disagree, and more citizens agree (51 per cent) than disagree (17 per cent ) that Ugandan journalists tell the truth even when this upsets powerful people.

“Significant minorities disagree with the view that the media in Uganda is politically balanced and the view that journalists act with integrity, though even in these cases, more citizens hold positive than negative views,” reads the report.

Local governance body, Twaweza yesterday released the report to mark World Press Freedom Day based on data from Sauti za Wananchi, Africa’s first nationally representative high-frequency mobile phone survey. The findings are based on data collected from 1,796 respondents across Uganda from September to October 2019.

Ugandan media today joins the rest of the world to commemorate the World Press Freedom Day.
However, journalists in Uganda still face challenges ranging from poor remuneration, lack of job security, attacks from both State and non-state actors, as well as political influence, among others.

The report presented by Ms Marie Nanyanzi, the programme officer of Sauti za Wananchi, shows that almost all citizens (94 per cent) feel that a citizen should be free to criticise their MPs for being lazy and uncaring, and almost as many feel a citizen should similarly be free to criticise the President (85 per cent) and government decisions (90 per cent).

In more general terms – as statements of principle – seven out of 10 citizens (71 to 72 per cent) support the view that criticism of leaders is a good thing for the country, helping to correct mistakes, rather than damaging the country by undermining either the authority of leaders and unity.

Honour the media
Twaweza country director Violet Alinda said although in almost all countries journalists face restrictions on movement and gatherings, there is need for all Ugandans to honour the critical role that the media can play in society.

“The media is always an important bridge between government and citizens, and this role is enhanced during crisis. The media is a channel to feed citizens verified, balanced information to enable them to protect themselves and make informed decisions. The media also provides citizen feedback to government, covering hard-to-reach areas, paints a picture of citizens’ experiences and government response,” Ms Alinda said.

Source Daily Monitor.

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