Kigezi journalists put pen to football ahead of press freedom day

Kigezi journalists put pen to football ahead of press freedom day
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The media practitioners from Kisoro, Kanungu, Rukiga, Rubanda and Rukungiri are being hosted by Kabale District in the sporting event that they hope to use not only to drive unity among themselves but also as a launchpad for their umbrella body.

KABALE | Journalists in Kigezi sub-region have kicked off their World Press Freedom Day in earnest, turning football stadiums into their temporary home as they engage in football matches in the run-up to the May 3 media event.

The media practitioners from the districts Kisoro, Kanungu, Rukiga, Rubanda and Rukungiri and their headquarter of Kabale in two-month-running sporting event that they hope to use not only to drive unity among themselves but also as a launchpad for their umbrella body.

The opening match will feature the Kabale media fraternity against the Kisoro United Journalists Association on March 2 in Kisoro Saaza Grounds.

Job Namanya, chairman of the steering committee, said football matches they have organised will be a first of its kind for media practitioners in the region.“We are going for the Kigezi regional tournament and the start is media friendly games," he said.

The Vision Group stringer for Kigezi sub-region, Namanya, said the football will just ice the engaging discussions and opportunities for mutual support and learning that they are planning during the period.

As part of the preparations, Kabale media fraternity is reaching out to different individuals and organisations that share the vision of promoting press freedom, professionalism and solidarity within the fraternity.

| Kabale media fraternity practice for their upcoming match against Kisoro | Lukia Nantaba

The Press Freedom Day, celebrated annually on May 3 worldwide, acts as a reminder to governments of the need to respect their commitment to press freedom.

It is also a day of reflection among media professionals about issues of press freedom and professional ethics.It is an opportunity to assess the state of press freedom, defend the media from attacks on their independence, and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

Meanwhile, the Kabale media fraternity has taken over Kabale Main Stadium where they train like they are running against time to be fit to face off with a team featuring Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe and Moses Magogo.

It is only Kisoro they are preparing for.

Emmanuel Arinaitwe, editor of Voice of Kigezi and team captain for Kabale media fraternity, said they want to return home with a win.

“This friendly match doesn’t only bring out the relationship we have as media practitioners but rather will be an example to the public to ensure that we have a good working relationship though we operate in different areas," Arinaitwe said.

He said the football engagement is also a moment to remind the journalists of the importance of staying physically fit in a world that is increasingly threatened by noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.

Most journalists, especially those with desk jobs such as editors, work long hours in inactive positions, leaving them susceptible to cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks and stroke.

Nobert Ndyamuhaki, chief executive of Kigezi TV and Austin Tusimukama, a presenter at Hills FM, commended the initiative.

They said such initiatives connect journalists and promote unity.

Kabale Resident District Commissioner, Godfrey Nyakahuma, pledged full support to the fraternity, saying the initiative is timely especially in improving the working relationship the government has with the media.

Over 20 media houses, including Next Media, operate in Kigezi.

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