KAMPALA – The Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Ms Judith Nabakooba, has said that government will engage media owners on the issue of enhancing salaries for journalists.
Speaking on the commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day on Sunday, May 3, 2020, Ms Nabakooba said she has received several complaints from several journalists across the media landscape of poor pay and facilitation for their work, something she said should be addressed urgently.
The Minister emphasised that journalists are very important to the successful implementation of government programmes and should not be ignored or underlooked.
Ms Nabakooba further revealed that her ministry will work to revamp and empower journalist organizations to demand for their rights.
Meanwhile, World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) celebrations in Uganda were on Sunday held at the Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) Head Offices in Kawempe-Kampala. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic threat just a few members attended the function.
The function was graced by the worker’s MP Margaret Rwabushaija Namubiru who used the day to condemn the violations of journalists freedoms and rights by the state security agencies and personnel(army and police)
Rwabushaija lashed out at the journalists employers who forced journalists on leave during this time without due payments.(packages)
The worker’s MP also expressed the need for safety of journalists on Covid-19 frontline and riots.
She further reminded government of essence of the media, hence calling for punitive actions against the violators of journalists freedoms.
Human Rights Lawyer and the executive director of Chapter four Nicholas Opio who was one of the panellists challenged the media operators to take keen interest into the poor welfare of their employees (journalists) and address them.
Opio strongly condemned the harsh treatment against journalists by the Rdc’s who included Eric Sakwa,whom he vowed to individually sue after the lockdown.
He hailed journalists for their relentless services to the nation inspite of the pandemic movement restrictions, encouraging them never to allow to be turned into the microphones for the leaders in power.
The UJA’s lawyer Eron Kiiza who was another panelist used the ceremony to decry the poor welfare of journalists including poor payment, whose time to shamelessly fight has come.
The UJA president hajj Bashir Kazibwe Mbaziira used the ceremony to announce the research survey to be under taken by UJA with some higher institutions of learning on effects of Covid-19 pandemic to journalists and later release a report shortly.
Kazibwe highlighted a number of achievements by his executive team leadership including procurement of the permanent Association home.
He also used the ceremony to unveil the the Uganda Journalists Association’s introduced publication named: “The Pen Magazine”.
The UJA president thanked the members of the public who possibly supported journalists during the covid lock down including business man Ham Kigundu, Maama Fina,Balam Barugare, Bebe Cool, Dine with Fourt Estate and Association of Secretaries and Administrative Profession in Uganda (ASAPU).
The UJA’s ex president Joshua Kyalimpa used an accassion to call for enterprising journalism .