Media Awards a Good Effort [editorial]

The media fraternity gathered at the Golf Course hotel in Kampala on Wednesday night to witness the inaugural Uganda National Journalism Awards gala.

Organised by the African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME), the awards seek “to recognise and promote excellence in reporting and to inspire quality journalism in Uganda.”

Out of the 220 entries submitted, at least 40 journalists drawn from 16 categories were recognised for their work and some rewarded with cash prizes. Journalism is often a thankless job, more so because it is not as well-paying as other professions at its level. Yet journalists have an important duty to keep the society well informed, educated and entertained, and the authorities accountable to the public.

To perform this role to perfection, journalists and the media houses they work for must be up to the task. The media houses must be committed to quality journalism while the journalists must be talented and competent individuals with a high level of integrity.

The outcome should, therefore, be well-researched, well-written and well-edited stories that are accurate, fair and balanced. Unfortunately, too often Ugandan media fall short of these values, a weakness that sets journalism up for attack and demonisation by the enemies of press freedom.

Part of the explanation for this weakness lies in the fact that newspaper business across the world has become increasingly unprofitable, thus jeopardisingmedia houses’ ability to invest more in quality journalism.

Considering facing such challenges, especially print media, resulting in dwindling circulation and aertising figures, as well as political and business pressures in the case of Uganda in particular, high quality journalism is of paramount and strategic importance if the trade as we know it is to survive.

Therefore, ACME should be commended for making an effort to raise the standard of journalism by recognising the trade’s unsung heroes. We hope that the initiative can inspire all of Uganda’s journalists and the media houses they work for to seek and promote professionalism in journalism.

Source : The Observer

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