By Muhindo Morgan
I read a tweet from Dr. Kizza Besigye legitimately complaining about media injustice to some presidential hopefuls, contesting against a government which by a stroke of a pen, or dial by its executive director through proxy institutions like UCC, both private and public media houses bow in fear of losing broadcasting rights/licenses, and individual editors, hosts and reporters are intimidated with arrests and job loss.
A plethora of examples of media clampdown by the state can be drawn from the unfashionable intimidation to media houses and journalists who covered and/or participated in non-violent demonstrations against injustices and bad laws such as Over the Top (OTT) tax, such suffice to explain a proposition that traditional media is susceptible to state captivity and the ultimate panacea lies in reliance on social media and internet based media platforms that are able to beat government regulatory and technical tools of censorship and manipulation.
In this election, you can already see where the weights of injustice are inclined and that will not change tomorrow. The supreme court of this land in presidential electoral petition No.1 o 2016 recognized that the issue of unequal media coverage of state media has been a recurrent one in previous election petitions.
In my opinion, any wait for another court reproach is for Jurisprudence but a political defeat for lack of alternative strategy more especially in this digital age.
However much electronic media as a campaigning dais is overly and disproportionately regulated; I am inclined to believe that it is the best alternative to an “overly-conscious” traditional media.
Whereas traditional media has a big coverage compared to electronic media, the latter is comparatively not just about consuming content, but sharing it, passing it on, and adding to it and this makes it more efficient.
Bobi Wine and his team are popular both online and offline for either accidentally or deliberate understanding and utilization of the cyber space and tools.
Maybe the team at Kamwokya should thank police for blocking it from accessing traditional radios and TVs, in the alternative, they have diligently and unsparingly exploited the cyber space to communicate to the electorate.
Therefore, electronic media may not just be an alternative but a model in a country like Uganda. Expecting balanced coverage from state captured traditional media is to ask for too much.
By Muhindo Morgan
Digital Human Rights Lawyer.
Email: [email protected]