Uganda is set to hold the next general elections in 2021. The media is one of the most powerful influencers on how elections are run and how they are perceived within and outside the country. To adequately perform this role, journalists must be equipped with both the knowledge of democratic governance, the legal framework that governs elections with all the proposed electoral reforms and the skills to report on all aspects including the run up and actual stages of the electoral process. These skills must include new and social media skills. Given the hostilities and harassment of journalists by security forces, this training will include a module on journalists’ safety and personal security.
UMDF trained journalists in elections reporting in the run up to the 2016 elections, but largely due to poor pay and lack of job security, most of them have since left journalism practice. Our survey reveals that majority of the current crop of practicing journalists in the proposed project areas have no experience in elections reporting. This will have a negative impact on their work if they are not adequately equipped with the requisite skills.
It is against this background that UMDF with funding from the United States Mission, Uganda, has organized the above training for 150 selected journalists from five regions of Mbarara (for Western Uganda); Gulu (for Northern Uganda); Masaka (for Central Uganda); Jinja(for Busoga region) and Soroti (for Eastern Uganda). The trainings will be conducted between October 2019 and February 2020.