The new executive of reporters under the Uganda Parliamentary Press Association (Uppa), whose new leader is Sam Ibanda Mugabi from the Naguru-based NBS TV, are under fire from some journalists and a section of Ugandans after they accepted a donation of Shs 50 million and a van from Speaker of Parliament and Bukedea District Woman MP Anita Annet Among.
On November 04, Speaker Among presided over the inauguration of the new Uppa executive led by Ibanda Mugabi. She congratulated the new leadership and saluted the outgoing leadership for its contribution to the parliamentary press fraternity. Among then went on to lecture reporters on how to do their work to suit her understanding of good journalism, warning them against being used as mercenaries and to blackmail MPs. The following is part of what she said:
The task ahead of you all is clear, to guide your colleagues towards the path of professionalism and strict adherence to the ethics of Journalism. The leadership of Parliament has opened up the House to scrutiny, hoping that you will do your work in public interest.
Friends, you all hold the media spaces in public trust and you owe that to Ugandans out there! Good journalism is defined by research, fact, objectivity and adherence to the legal frame works that regulate the profession.
Always remember that you in Parliament as a Journalist and not as a politician or mercenary for hire. I commend those who have done their work with utmost professionalism and respect to the institution.
I must however also say that my office has received complaints about some journalists who blackmail MPs for financial gains and some who have turned covering Parliament into a business.
While we respect the freedom of the press, we shall not allow unprofessional practices to take route in Parliament. Blackmail and being a hired mercenary is not journalism!
My office will support you to enhance professional development and put in place policies that support the welfare of the media covering Parliament. I direct the department of communications and public affairs to work with UPPA in that regard.
After the event, Agather Atuhaire, a famous Speaker Among ‘tormentor,’ a journalist and lawyer, claimed that the head of Uganda’s legislative arm of government had donated Shs50m to the Uppa Sacco as well as a van for the association’s work, gifts that the Ibanda-Mugabi group accepted with gladness.
“Today at the handover ceremony of the UPPA (Parliamentary press) outgoing leadership, Speaker Anita Among told Journalists to report responsibly lest the recently enacted CMA [Computer Misuse Amendment Act, 2022) catches up with them. She also offered to capitalize their SACCO with Shs 50m and give them a van,” wrote Atuhaire.
Her post attracted a lot of responses from journalists and other Ugandans who suggested that the donation would influence journalists to report in favour of the speaker and the House, and not in public interest. Here are some of the comments:
Have we been co-opted? is the question that’s making rounds. – Dedan Kimathi wa Kanyoro @dedankimathi891
Why do they need a van? – Dicta Asiimwe @AsiimweDicta
To go for burials – Mubuuke Godfrey @mubuuke (replying to Dicta Asiimwe)
This post is not about the handover but worshipping the person of the speaker. Despicable. – Mac Keneth @Kenethn7
Is bending part of greeting head of parliament institution? Isn’t this stooping too low worship individuals as semi gods? – Mr President @Akandwanaho_
Parliament has so many vans. Why does she have to give UPPA a van? – Ronald Muhinda @RonaldMuhinda
Will they report objectively? – Andrew Phillip Mawejje @PhilipMawejje
Is she immortal? Robert Fungo Matanda @rfungom
Should journalists especially those based at parliament be intimidated not to report what’s right, factual because someone doesn’t want to hear it? Ganged journalism is a dictatorship, what do you think? – bkastiro @kasbana
A sign that they will deliver in accordance to the owner of the pipeline. Most times if you humble yourself so much people tend to use you , especially in sir, madam boss ,chief Mukama Wange, Mr, Mrs. Learn how to show respect without being manipulated. – Shahid Nsamba @shamiecom
After injecting 50M in their SACCO they had to bow their heads like Buda Monks. I don’t expect any of those journalists to report anything wrong about [the speaker]. – KYEKIMU@Akirsoumer16
If journalists receive a gift from the speaker, will they report objectively? Oba they will just be singing her praises? – Francis Agaba @agabaf
In other words no one should write about M-Pigs greed and our tax sharing bonanza! Kale she is joking! – Norman Tumuhimbise @NormanTumuhimb2
Speaker Among’s donation to journalists came hours after she ordered Kabaka’s radio station, CBS FM, to release a recording of Bobi Wine’s NUP MP who is being investigated over statements made during a show. (See Details Here).