KAMPALA – The Ministry of ICT & National Guidance in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden in Kampala is organizing a virtual dialogue to discuss the role of the media in the electoral process during a pandemic. The dialogue will take place on Friday, 25 September 2020 from 10.00 am-11.45 am and will be broadcast live on NTV-Uganda and UBC-TV. It will also be streamed live on social media.
The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed the conditions for democratic processes around the world. In Uganda, more cases are being documented, as the country gears up for general elections. Accordingly, the SOPs put in place to control the spread of COVID-19 include prohibiting physical interaction between candidates and voters through processions and rallies. The focus now is on virtual mobilization, particularly through ‘traditional’ and new media platforms.
Elections are an important avenue for citizens to participate in decision-making because the decisions taken by elected leaders affect them collectively and individually. In such a virtual election, the use of media to engage, and equal access by candidates is key to Uganda’s democratization processes.
The Ministry of ICT and National Guidance is responsible for policy direction regarding the development and use of ICTs in Uganda. The Ministry is also charged with ensuring that we have a vibrant media that plays a responsible role, more-so in such virtual electoral processes.
The dialogue will bring together actors from the media, civil society, and government, who are involved in ensuring the media, plays an enabling role in such a virtual electoral process. Speakers will include Hon. Minister of ICT & NG, H.E. the Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda, Representatives from the Electoral Commission, UCC, the African Centre for Media Excellence, the National Association of Broadcasters, Editors’, the Media Council of Uganda, and other stakeholders.
This dialogue is also part of Sweden’s foreign engagement initiative known as “Drive for Democracy”, through which a series of dialogues called “Democracy Talks” are held to discuss the interaction between governments and citizens, to strengthen democracy around the world.