MUKONO – Professor Monica Chibita, the Dean of the Faculty of Journalism, Media and Communication, delivered her professorial inaugural lecture. The University Council appointed Chibita to professorship last year.
It was the first-ever professorial lecturer at Uganda Christian University. The event that took place at Nkoyoyo Hall, was attended by members of academia, clergy, ambassadors, judges, amongst others.
An inaugural lecture provides newly appointed professors with the opportunity to inform colleagues, the academic community and the public of their work to date, including current research and future plans.
“The inaugural lecture is a joyous occasion that allows a university to “launch” its new professor,” Chibita said.
The lecture was titled “Between Freedom and Regulation: Reflections on the Communication Landscape in Uganda.” It was a summation of research that she has done over the last five years that culminated in her professorship.
She shared reflections on a wide range of issues including the context of communication.
“Not only is it now easier for journalists to file local news from anywhere to any newspaper, radio station, or TV station across the country, but ordinary people are able to participate in programmes and contribute content with the aid of the phone and the internet,” she said.
“Traditional media houses typically have a thread of conversation running on social media for any major story. This builds cohesion among audiences. It further enables ordinary people to participate, with minimum censorship, in the debate on issues that concern them,” she added.
She also reflected on the history of media regulation and ownership in Uganda, media consumption habits, the convergence of separate technologies and multimedia, digitisation, media freedom and freedom of expression, popular media and popular culture, as well as justifications for the regulation of the media.
Prof. Chibita’s conclusion was that for a free press in a vibrant democracy, co-regulation seems to be the way forward.
She revealed that she is now very sure that education is her calling. “As a young person, sometimes you are not very clear what you want to be when you grow up. I dreamt, first, of being a nurse; then my dad rebuked me and said ‘Why not aim at being a medical doctor?’ My interest shifted and I wanted to be a lawyer because it was highly prestigious. Then I dreamt of being an altar girl because I had watched my uncle, now Monsignor Thomas Kisembo, say Mass at our house every evening. However, I am now convinced that I ended up right where my calling was: in education,” she said.
The Vice-Chancellor, Dr. John Senyonyi, commended Chibita for her contribution to UCU. “Shortly after she joined UCU, Professor Chibita sent five staff for PhDs students to build up her department. As a result, the Faculty of Journalism, Media, and Communication, which was a department under the faculty of education, was hatched,” he said.
After the lecture, the Vice-Chancellor handed her a plaque of academic excellence. Guests were then treated to a meal at the reception in Agape Square.