Ugandan journalists have been warned against sacrificing the country in the course of their professional work.
The call was made by the Mbarara Deputy Resident District commissioner, Emmy Katera, while opening a three-day Election reporting skills training for journalists in western Uganda at Acacia Hotel in Mbarara Municipality.
Katera urged the scribes to be patriotic to their country, noting that they are also Ugandans.
“Whenever you are writing, ask yourself if the information builds or destroys Uganda,” he stated.
He added that no matter how factual news may be, it should not jeopardise the country’s security and stability.
Furthermore, he cautioned them against bias and urged them to hear from all parties.
Katera also advised journalists to utilise various government programs to supplement their earnings from journalism work.
“As Ugandans, you should always get out of your comfort zones and apply for the existing government programs,” he said.
However, in the debate that later ensued, some journalists argued that accepting government support would be compromising their independence.
A veteran news journalist and lecturer at Makerere University, John Baptist Wasswa asked journalists to desist from being compromised by some news sources.
Wasswa also asked journalists to uphold professional practices like accuracy, balance and fairness, truthfulness among others.
He implored scribes to focus on research about the various stories they are going to cover so as to feed the audience with the most trusted news.
Wasswa asked media houses to offer an equal platform to all candidates to help the public in making informed decisions.
The need for gender balance in reporting was also emphasised in fair reporting.
“Whether paid for or not, election civic education is our mandate and we must offer it to our audience,” he added.
Moses Paul Sserwanga, a media trainer and communications consultant, asked journalists to formularise themselves with the electoral process to avoid lagging behind when the country expects them to lead in informing about the process.