Editors of different media houses have been urged to stick of the Journalistic Code of Ethics in the face of emergence of citizen journalism that has led to the promotion of fake news.
The call was made by Dr Aminah Zawedde, the Permanent Secretary in Ministry of ICT and National Guidance, at the weekend during the 2nd Annual Uganda Editors’ Convention in Hoima City.
According to Dr Zawedde, editors are already doing a commendable level of professionalism particularly in the conventional media but more needs to be done.
“At the same time, we challenge you to stay the course, especially in this digital era which has facilitated the emergence and proliferation of citizen journalism with all its associated challenges; like misinformation, disinformation, malicious content where anyone can capture and relay content,” she said.
The PS also tasked the editors to use their editorial policies and guide young reporters and stringers such that the material they gather meets the criteria in as much as it is possible with your guidance.
“We pledge to continue undertaking such capacity building sessions in as far as resources can allow, now and in future, but we also invite you as editors to be a part of these efforts including inhouse continuous training for your media houses either individually or collectively. This will also ensure that we have minimal contestations between ourselves as Government, particularly the Regulatory Agencies, yourselves and the media,” she stressed.
“There is also the challenge of skilling of particularly reporters, especially those in community radios where the levels of professionalism are in some cases far less than ideal,” she added.
PS Zawedde also asked journalists to desist from extortion.
“Speaking from the policy perspective and as a news source, I also invite our journalists to reflect on the journalistic code of ethics because the reports we receive from our Regulatory Entities point towards persistence of issues like extortion/blackmail, asking for inducements and other forms of improper conduct particularly by reporters,” she said.
She also hailed the editors for partnering with the government to shed light on Government policies, programmes and priorities.
“The success of many of Government initiatives has indeed hinged on decisive support we have received from the media, where you as editors play a central role in determining the news content and presentation of the same to the wider public,” she said.
“For instance, at the peak of the challenge of COIVD 19, the success of our response initiatives was greatly strengthened by the support from media houses. We do appreciate your role particularly in ensuring that the Government’s standard operating procedures (SOPs), were clearly and comprehensively communicated through media platforms, as well as mobilising people to embrace vaccination and the numerous updates to the Country by H.E. the President,” she added.