UHRC Urges Journalists to Stick to the Profession

1794 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
Meddie Mulumba, the acting commissioner of commission says that while there are constant calls on government agencies to respect fundamental freedoms of expression, journalists who are enablers in the enjoyment of the rights should not abuse it.

The Uganda Human Rights Commission has called on journalists not to take up other jobs that could affect their professional calling.

The Commission's Acting Chairperson, Meddie Mulumba says while there is quest for freedom of expression and the press, some journalists need to re-commit themselves in adhering to professional ethical codes in order to guard against misusing the enjoyment of the right to information.

Mulumba was the guest speaker at launch of the 2017/2018 Global report on " World trends in Freedom of expression and Media Development" at Senate Building , Makerere University.

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His remarks follows recent concerns that some journalists in the country were also working as intelligence agents for some of the state security agencies.

It is feared that such acts would not only endanger the security of journalists but also affect the credibility of their media houses.

He said the Commission has observed what he called destructive tendencies towards press freed which he urged other human rights defenders  to look out for. Those according to Mulumba include; the diminishing space for journalism in its traditional sense; the abuse and misuse of social media as a source of false or unverified news; the impact of the profit motivation on media businesses and the lack of independence from commercial interests.

Also on the list according to Meddie Mulumba is the
the tendency for some journalists to put profiteering above professionalism and its negative impact on neutrality and objectivity; the metamorphosis of some journalists into government spies.

Mulumba said freedom of speech and expression underpins all other human rights and freedoms because individuals must be free to exercise their right to think, form an opinion, freely seek, receive and impart ideas and opinions, in order for them to effectively realise all their other human rights that are a prerequisite for their human dignity.
He observed that any attack or illegitimate restriction of on media freedom inevitably impacts negatively on the freedom of speech and expression of individuals.

The issues of media freedom according to Uganda Human Rights Commission  should be a concern of all citizens, not just the media fraternity or human rights defenders.
He asked journalists to make use of the Uganda Human Rights Commission by reporting any cases of harassment that affect them in order for them to be investigated.
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He however noted that the realization of the fundamental freedom of expression in its entirety in Uganda must be effectively enhanced.
"Some soul-searching is required to not only to ensure improvement in observance of all the rights at stake but also to prevent retrogretion on the aspects on which gains have already been registered,"  Mulumba adds.
The five-year UNESCO report on World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development 2017/18 launched on Wednesday at Makerere University observes that media independence is weakening and the professional standards of journalism are  also being eroded by economic forces.


About the author

Davidson Ndyabahika
Davidson Ndyabahika is a Journalism major from Makerere University and is passionate about investigative and data journalism with special interest in feature story telling.

He has gone through digital and multi-media training both at Ultimate Multimedia Consult, and has attended Data Journalism Sessions at ACME to enrich his capacity in data journalism.

Davidson has previously freelanced with The Campus Times, The Observer, Chimp reports and URN. He is currently reporting under Education. He is also passionate about reporting on environment, health, crime and political satire writing.

Follow him on Twitter: @dndyaba