The Minister of ICT and National Guidance, Frank Tumwebaze has Wednesday appealed to journalists to desist from involving in political quarrels when doing their job as well as turning every talk show into a platform for political ping pong.
He was speaking at the Annual Broadcasters’ Conference held at Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala, where he noted that journalists need to stick to the journalism ethical codes of conduct, calling upon media houses to effect on job training for young journalists.
“Radios have become a source of conflict especially for politicians. I appeal to you all broadcasters not to be party to our politics, concentrate on communicating factually,” Mr Tumwebaze said.
He added that: “If we want to have very good educative content, I appeal to you to train our young people. When we train them, the question of pay will also improve. Let’s train our journalists because not everybody who holds a camera and a pen is a journalist.”
He further suggested that media stations avail airtime to people of extra knowledge on specific topics saying that people without technical expertise tend to mislead the public with inaccurate deliberations.
In his view, it is inappropriate for TVs and radios to always invite politicians for talk shows even when the subject for discussion is technical in nature.
“Let the technical people discuss technical issues not politicians. You can’t invite a Permanent Secretary to engage in political ping pong, because theirs is government policies and technical issues,” he added.
“We can’t talk about politics every time. For example, currently there is a debate on social media tax. Do people know what OTTs are? What is the position of International Telecommunications Union on this? You can have a talk show with experts in ICT to discuss this”.
He appealed to broadcasters to avoid being sucked into or abusing the liberalization of the media to regurgitate political quarrels.
On his part, the UCC Executive Director, Eng Godfrey Mutabaazi, cautioned media owners from using air waves to promote witchcraft and engineering hatred.
“It has come to our attention that some pastors have turned Radio and television stations into battle grounds to send insults and defame fellow or rival pastors,” Mutabazi said.
“It is unfortunate that some of
these people have used religion to defraud or mislead unsuspecting members of the public,” he warned.
He added that UCC will not hesitate to revoke licences of stations which insist on violating the minimum broadcasting standards as it did a couple of months ago when more than 10 radio stations were closed.
Speaking on behalf of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), Chairperson Kin Kariisa appealed to media owners to provide contracts to their employees as per the UCC recommendations.
He further asked government to set up an and independent communication tribunal which will listen to broadcasters’ appeals and pronounce judgement in a short time in case UCC reigns on them.
He said that the current setting positions the communication regulator UCC as the accuser and Judge at the same time.
Mr Kariisa further reminded broadcasters on their mandate to promote this country through allocating most of their airtime to relaying local content.