The study shows that sourcing from women has stagnated at around 20 percent of all sources quoted in the three years of the study, with only about three in 10 stories quoting women at all. Female MPs and women who represent international and local NGOs outperform all other professional women in speaking to the media.
The study of press coverage of public affairs in Uganda conducted between July 2015 and June 2016 examines the coverage of public affairs issues reported by five national news publications, namely The New Vision, Daily Monitor, Bukedde, The Observer and The Independent Magazine.
One of the specific objectives of the research was to gather empirical evidence on the quantity, quality, frequency, scope and nature of public affairs coverage by the Ugandan media. In the key findings, the study states that in a typical week, the five newspapers studied collectively publish nearly 600 stories on public affairs.
Of these, 33 percent of the stories are in Bukedde, 32 percent in Daily Monitor, 25 percent in The New Vision and the remaining 10 percent shared between The Observer and The Independent. The study notes that more than 53 percent of the public affairs stories are about two issues: justice, law and order at 28.6 percent, and people and power at 24.6 percent.
The media coverage on the Justice, Law and Order Sector-JLOS, overwhelmingly dwelt on criminal justice and the police while on People and Power, more than half of the reporting was about political and democratic processes.
The researchers led by Dr George Lugalambi, presented the study's key findings to a select audience of media practitioners in Kampala today. Dr Lugalambi said Justice, Law and Order has got the biggest coverage in all three studies so far carried out.
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The study conducted with support from Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) lists the energy and extractives, defence and security, agriculture, public works and infrastructure as the least reported sectors. However, despite the low coverage, the sectors always get on the front page whenever they are reported about, according to Dr Lugalambi.
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However, the study shows that sourcing from women has stagnated at around 20 percent of all sources quoted in the three years of the study, with only about three in 10 stories quoting women at all. Female MPs and women who represent international and local NGOs outperform all other professional women in speaking to the media.
According to Dr Lugalambi, the fact that over 80 percent of the sources are men is disturbing.
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Other key findings are: that stories that quote zero, one or two sources are increasing while multi-sourced ones are decreasing; only 6 percent of stories quote documentary sources and even fewer stories make use of data analysis.
He is bothered that representation is not improving and people who are personally affected by the issues in the news are the subject of public affairs stories only 19 percent of the time. The rest of the time the news maker is a person in authority or professional position.
Veteran journalist and editor, John Baptist Wasswa, said media houses need to have missions and clear editorial policies.