Bamuturaki urges journalists to step up reporting standards

Bamuturaki urges journalists to step up reporting standards
Bamuturaki in a past engagement | Courtesy

Reflecting on the "fuelling saga" in Dar es Salaam, Bamuturaki expressed her dismay at the "sensationalised coverage" and exaggerated claims of an imminent crash.

KAMPALA | The Chief Executive Officer of Uganda Airlines, Jenifer Bamuturaki, has emphasised the importance of journalists transforming their inquiries into compelling narratives while promoting a balanced relationship between the media and businesses.

Bamuturaki made these remarks during an engagement with editors in Kampala on Friday.

The editors dinner was organised by Metropolitan Republic Uganda Ltd, a marketing and PR agency, under the theme, "Seizing opportunities: Transforming Journalists' Inquiries into Compelling Narratives."

Bamuturaki acknowledged the conflicting interests between the two parties but called for a set of minimum rules of engagement to foster mutual understanding and trust.

"As a manager of a public enterprise, I have two primary responsibilities: to deliver on the core function of the organization and be accountable to the shareholders," she stated.

Reflecting on the "fuelling saga" in Dar es Salaam, Bamuturaki expressed her dismay at the "sensationalised coverage" and exaggerated claims of an imminent crash.

"Do you remember the fuelling saga in Dar es Salaam some years ago? I found it hard to believe when the media ran wild with stories suggesting that an aircraft, which was on the ground waiting to refuel, was in danger of crashing," she recalled.

She highlighted the discrepancy between journalistic responsibility and reality, urging journalists to uphold logical reporting standards and professionalism.

"The way that routine incident was reported showed that many journalists were no better than the average TikToker, despite the expectation for them to be above average. As messengers, journalists must also exercise logic," she added.

Before the Uganda Airlines chief executive spoke, the president of Uganda Law Society, Bernard Oundo, had urged the media on upholding integrity, which is one of the hallmarks of good journalism.

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While recognising the media's role as a watchdog in protecting the public's interest by subjecting business actions to scrutiny, Bamuturaki urged journalists to report the truth based on thorough research, avoiding sensationalising routine incidents or misinterpreting information.

She also highlighted the challenges faced by public enterprises in differentiating between public and private information.

Bamuturaki questioned the boundary between the two and emphasised the importance of flexibility in sharing information while considering the broader interests of the business and the nation.

She provided examples to illustrate her concerns about media distortion and out-of-context reporting, including an incident where the media exaggerated a routine fuelling delay, falsely implying that a grounded aircraft was in danger of crashing.

Such incidents, she argued, underscore the need for journalists to approach their work logically and with clarity.

She noted that Uganda Airlines remains committed to engaging with the media and building trust. The airline has conducted sessions to provide journalists with insights into various aspects of their business.

However, she cautioned against instances where information shared with the media was misused or misconstrued.

She urged journalists to report from an informed and unbiased standpoint, emphasizing the importance of mutual trust and respect between media houses, businesses, and the public.

Bamuturaki called for logical reporting, highlighting the negative consequences of malicious intent and the potential harm caused by sensationalized claims.

While Uganda Airlines actively engages with the media and strives for transparency in its operations, Bamuturaki stressed the necessity for journalists to approach their inquiries with clarity and contextual understanding, ensuring accurate and responsible reporting.

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