Uganda Journalists Association has asked government to come to the help of media practitioners overcome the effects of the current Coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking during the day to mark the World Press Freedom day on Sunday, UJA president, Bashir Kazibwe said several journalists have been affected by the ongoing pandemic but noted that something ought to be done to ensure they recover.
“We acknowledge government intervention to reduce license fees for broadcast media by 30 percent. However, more is needed to cushion the media from the Covid-19 shock. I appeal to government to consider a stimulus package including tax relief for the media industry and also pay debts government owes media houses as one way of helping media practitioners retain their jobs,”Kazibwe said.
“I appeal to President Museveni and Minister Judith Nabakooba to engage media owners to reinstate journalists forced out of their employment and pay their entitlements in full.
The UJA president also asked government to consider the proposal to establish a Media Investment Fund that can always avail funds to vulnerable media organisations in difficult and emergency times so they can operate smoothly.
“I urge the media to take stock of the challenges we have encountered, find lasting solutions and start speaking with one voice if we want to emerge stronger than we were,” he noted.
The UJA president assured journalists that despite the challenging times, the body would always stand with them, citing their recent efforts that have seen over 500 journalists throughout the country given relief food in terms of beans, maize flour , sugar and rice.
Speaking at the function, UJA lawyer, Eron Kiiza of Kiiza and Mugisha Advocates decried the poor state of journalists in the country , noting that something ought to be done to change the situation that he said is a shame.
This year’s World Press Freedom day was celebrated under the theme, “Journalist without fear or favour.”