The bishop of Masindi-Kitara diocese, George William Kasangaki, has challenged journalists in Masindi to report objectively as they report most especially during this time of electioneering.
Kasangaki made his call on Friday while addressing journalists at Kolping hotel in Masindi town during their two day training that was organized by Peace and Justice Department of Episcopal Conference of Uganda with funding from Hanns Siedel Foundation, a nongovernmental organization based in German.
“As you do your work, help people get the right information because some of you twist your news to attract the attention of people. Please do not relay information that will make people collide but instead the one that will unite them,” the bishop said.
“I really sympathize with you journalists because I hear people criticizing you for negative reporting most especially government officials for exposing what is not expected of them. If they really know what they are doing is not correct, they should do the right things which journalists can report correctly.”
Kasangaki said journalists’ work is delicate because on several occasions he has watched their gadgets being confiscated by state agents.
He however encouraged journalists to stick to using their gadgets because it enables them to have evidence.
While giving his closing remarks for the workshop, Godfrey Nyakahuma, the Resident District Commissioner Masindi, observed that when colonial setting of the time was categorizing arms of government, they forgot to include media as forth arm of government in addition to the executive, judiciary and legislature.
“There is no way media can be isolated unless one is insensitive but unfortunately in most instances, media practitioners are not considered to be vital. I imagine how people would get to know what is happening in parliament if media imposed a ban on reporting parliamentary issues,” Nyakahuma imagined.
He described media as being very powerful since media practitioners interact with all categories of people something that creates holistic estate that would have been part of government.
The RDC, however, appealed the media practitioners not to report issues that will cause civil unrest like 1994 genocide in Rwanda and post-election violence in Kenya.
Julia Berder, the regional representative of Hanns Siedel Foundation, said that the German’s constitution has a clause that requires government not only to sensitize citizens about democratic governance but also people in other countries.
Berder disclosed that, currently they are running democratic governance programme in over 30 counties all over the world but they came in Uganda in 2006 through a council of catholic bishops as their only implementing partner unlike in Tanzania where they have six of them.
“We realized it was pertinent for journalists and leaders in the country to know the relevancy of democracy in any country and this is how this training came about,” she elaborated.