Journalists call for formal recognition as the fourth Estate, call for a media fund

The Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) has embarked on drumming support for constitutionalizing of the concept of the Fourth Estate like is it with the three arms of the government; executive, parliament and judiciary respectively.

Speaking during the World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) commemoration joint press conference on Friday 3 May at Speke Hotel in Kampala, UJA president Mathias Rukundo noted that journalists are often referred to as members of the Fourth Estate which is a lip service since it lacks reflection in the Ugandan constitution.

It is against that backdrop that the concept was developed by UJA based on a successful study with Ghana where it has successfully yielded according to Rukundo.

He said the draft concept which can help the country realize a positive development agenda will be presented to parliament for consideration.

The Uganda Journalists Association’s president also used the commemoration to request for creation of the media fund to help with complementing journalists’ noble services like it has been done in some countries.

Citing the 4 cases of the detained and tortured journalists Julius Tukacungurwa of Umoja News, Moses Lemisa with Vision Group, Paul Mugaba of Delta TV and Ggaliwango with Vision Group in only one of February, Rukundo decried the persistent harassment of journalists by the police officers with impunity, which undermines journalists’ safety.

Speaking during the same press conference, the Uganda Journalists Union’s general secretary Stephen Ouma demanded for police report into the mysterious death of 7 journalists including the former UJA president Robert Kagolo who was gunned down to death at his late brother’s home entrance in Kasengejje- Wakiso district, which has never come out.

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Ouma observed that the exploitation of journalists is as result of the media owners taking advantage over their employees due to absence of a minimum wage in the country, which adversely impacts journalism
professional standards.

The senior principal magistrate grade 1 also the Uganda Judicial Officers Association (UJOA) secretary general His Worship Martin Kirya observed that Ghana has a full chapter in its constitution that provides for journalism, something that if was championed by the law makers in Uganda would be an enabler of buttressing the concept of the Fourth Estate in the constitution.

He noted that the enjoyment of the press freedom spins around independence, wondering how it can be realized when journalists are not properly facilitated.

Journalists trainer under the Media Challenge Initiative (MCI) Ivan Kigozi Kimuli expressed fear over the exponential exodus of journalists from the newsrooms for greener pastures abroad and in other sectors which if not urgently addressed likely to destroy the profession.

Brenda Namata from the Uganda Media Women ‘s Association (UMWA) decried sexual harassment of the female journalists by some employers that has got to stop as it is a violates their rights.

The Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Media (UPFM) chairperson Teddy Nambooze under scored the need for a sectoral minimum wage for journalists as it will answer the outstanding exploitation question.

The environment and climate change scholar Peter Kibuka observed that there was declining media coverage on climate justice and yet it is a hemorrhage that impacts agriculture and economy.

Kibuka urged journalists to utilize data in un covering the realities of the environmental degradation as one way of fostering climate justice.

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The information shadow minister Hellen Nakimuli committed to intensify the fight for journalist’s welfare, pledging to rally parliament to approve the media fund to help journalists.

Nakimuli also received a memoranda to the parliament from the UJA president Rukundo, containing journalist’s issues for further handling by the house.

The post Journalists call for formal recognition as the fourth Estate, call for a media fund appeared first on Watchdog Uganda.

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