KARIISA: As we push for freedom, let’s practice responsible journalism

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KIN KARIISA

It is my pleasure to report on the activities and accomplishments of NAB for the financial year 2017/18, it has been a memorable one for us, and shows that our industry continues to grow and develop, benefiting participants, large and small across the value ecosystem.

On the issue of the 2% UCC level, we had several meetings and consultations with the regulator on this and a waiver/ revocation was made that the 2% was not to be charged on the broadcasters. We’re working tirelessly to have this persistent issue amended in the next financial year.

On our quest to strengthen our partnership with UCC, we traversed the country in support of different UCC regional meetings, this enabled us interface more with the people in the industry and stakeholders.

As for media freedom, NAB as an association is strongly against the way journalists have been treated in the recent times, these events are slowly shaping our reporting and that’s a trend we must never condone.

Media houses are the 4th estate and are responsible for informing the public, they can only do that with an enabling environment.

The continued harassment of journalists by security personnel as they execute their work needs to strongly be condemned by every right thinking Ugandan, not only people within the media fraternity.

Because the state (and its institutions) are some of the biggest creators of content for news, the relationship between the media and the state should be symbiotic because state institutions need media coverage to report on the activities they are doing to uplift the status of the citizens.

The media houses are not entirely blameless. In these politically charged times, we must stick to our cardinal principles of objectivity and fairness. We should never skew information in favour of one subject over the other.

We are all critical players in the public affairs of this country and need to stick together through thick and thin.

In connection to media freedom, we’ve been hit by a wave of fake news, a cancer that is eating away at the core of our credibility in the mainstream media industry. I’m quite sure many of you have fallen victim to this.

It is the proliferation of fake news/information, especially on various social media platforms, through parody accounts of established organisations.

This has left a sour taste in the mouth of state agencies as they believe media houses are actually peddling these lies which isn’t the case.

Be very skeptical of headlines and have gate keeping mechanisms that aim at keeping out fake news. A media house is as good as the story they tell.

NAB members and some broadcasters complained about the high raise in licensing fees, feedback from UCC was that they did wide spread consultations with all stakeholders, including broadcasters in 2014 after which they went ahead to gazette these rates. They therefore cannot be reversed.

I urge all members to respond to membership fees because moving forward, the NAB Annual General meeting will strictly be for NAB paid up members only!

The author is the chairman of the National Broadcasters’ Association (NAB). He delivered this speech at the annual general meeting of NAB today.

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