By Nancy Emily Nagujja.
A media Breakfast meeting organized by UBOS did attract all the Forth Estate members from key media houses together with government Media Institutions like Uganda Media Center (UMC), Uganda Broadcatsing Corporation (UBC) and others.
The Breakfast Meeting aimed at strengthening the relationship between UBOS and the media fraternity through information sharing and information dissemination not forgetting key media ethics of being objective at all times.
The keynote speaker, Mr. Ofwono Opondo, the Executive Director of Uganda Media Center noted how there is increasingly less regard for evidence. Much as there is much content today, it is not used to tell these right facts. Everyone thinks they have the right to share information they consider adequate and accurate information. The availability of democracy has given people a mentality that if thinking it is a good thing, it is the freedom to spread whatever information they have regardless of the source/ authenticity of the source. He acknowledged UBOS management for the initiative to host the media fraternity as a mission to enhance their communication function through the different mediums.
Today’s media reporting leaves a lot to desize. There is lack of facts and historical background. It is important for us in the media the media to support government agencies like UBOS as a resource for information for our reporting. The media now is not just people in the newsroom, it is even one with a smartphone
“There should be no basis for anyone in Uganda to dispute information by Ubos but in Uganda, it’s normal. Everybody has become an authority on statistics, but we can’t run the country that way. In the developed countries where the media is more developed and robust, they don’t rotate around rumors like we do here. The media in Uganda has no humility to retract and say, we were wrong,” He said. He concluded by urging the media to recognize credible sources of information that they disseminate and follow proper media ethics.
Brig. General Felix Kulaigye, The Guest Speaker while delivering his remarks that Uganda’s legal and policy framework for communication is based on the supreme law of the country, the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, adopted on 8 October 1995. Article 29 (a) states that “Every person shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression which shall include freedom of the press and other media”. He added “If you don’t believe in data, what are you going to believe? How are you going to lead us if you don’t believe data is necessary for governance?” He said.
For any communication to reach large numbers, one must heavily rely on radio, television, magazines, and newspapers. The media plays a crucial role in filtering, and analyzing information provided by these authorities to citizens and thus government must take into account this intermediary role of the media when they seek to communicate with the population. The credibility of government and acceptance of public policies depends on the degree to which it is open with the media.
The host, Mr. Chris .N. Mukiza,Executive Director UBOS highlights that The Uganda Bureau of Statistics calls for good use and reporting of statistics by the media or the establishment of a short-term engagement/ partnership. “As statisticians, we are glad about the increasing perception of quality reporting and dissemination being based on facts and more so being punctuated with quality statistics to better inform planning and decision making,” He quoted.
This will be a quarterly event to keep in touch with the media and capture the necessary facts and findings for purposes of improving the dissemination of verified information to the diverse audience that UBOS enjoys.