By our reporter
Journalists in Kigezi region have been warned against accepting bribes while covering governance and accountability issues in their region.
According to Jack Sabiiti, the former Rukiga County Member of Parliament, Journalists have a role of exposing the bad things transpiring in their communities as well as sharing the positive stories therein.
He was speaking during a media and governance skills training for Kigezi regional journalists at White Horse Inn, Kabale on Tuesday.
The training which is organised by Uganda Media Development Foundation (UMDF) is sponsored by the United States Mission Uganda,
According to Sabiiti, professional media personalities should employ their skills to enlighten their communities.
“There is no way you can fail to dig out a story from anyone because you have the necessary skills to achieve this. Employ your investigative skills to get to what you want,” said Sabiiti.
He said that a shrewd journalist is the one who gets the right and credible sources from any organisation or area they would wish to cover.
“Get friends from that office who will even avail you the exact documents that you need to verify your story. It is very possible for you to make it a success if you are truly focused,” he added.
Speaking during the same training, Fr. Gaetano Batanyenda, the chairperson for Kick Corruption out of Uganda condemned journalists who are bribed in the course of exercising their duties and they deny the audience real facts.
“For me the people I see with a flash light to direct our communities to the truth are the journalists but if you take bribes and write wrong stories, I can assure you God will condemn you to the fullest,” he said.
Batanyenda appealed to the media practitioners in the region to work together for the promotion of their rights and freedom while at work.
“Make sure you form associations that will advocate for better working conditions in this country. Media is not liked by so many people especially wrongdoers you better fight for your cause now,” said the outspoken priest.
Robert Kakuru, the Executive director for Kick Corruption out of Uganda said that the media needs to cooperate with other partners in the development of the country for its mission to be fulfilled.
“ Ensure that you are in good terms with government bodies, nongovernmental organisations and other partners for you to get all the necessary information you need to serve your communities better,” said Kakuru.
Moses Paul Serwanga a media Consultant with Uganda Media Development Foundation revealed that journalists must be informed if they are to ably create impact and hold the leaders in power accountable to the public.
Ronald Hawkins, the Public Affairs Officer at United States of America Mission Uganda expressed concern over the mistreatment of journalists as the execute their duties.
Hawkins said that journalists in the country must remain focused if they are to continue playing the oversight and watchdog role in the society.
James Kigozi, the UMDF executive director said that the three days training which started on Monday is aimed at identifying the gaps that other professionals see in media reporting on governance and public accountability.
Uganda media Development foundation tackles areas of Media Training, Media Advocacy and networking, Research and documentation, Media and Peace building.