On 14th March 2018, the Commissioner for the Uganda Human Rights Commission, Hon. Meddie B. Mulumba launched the 2017/2018 Global Report on “World Freedom of Expression and Media Development.” This was at a colourful ceremony organised by the Department of Journalism and Communication Makerere University, in partnership with Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences, Norway.
In 2011 during its 36th General Conference, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a resolution calling for monitoring of the status of press freedom and safety of journalists. The resolution, among other things, emphasized the need to report cases of violence against journalists and similar developments. With support from the Swedish Government, a large scale research project was initiated, leading to the first World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development Report in 2014.Since then, efforts have been renewed to capture contemporary trends in the area of media development and freedom of the press.
The report, which covers the period 2012 to 2017, discusses freedom of expression across four key dimensions of media freedom, pluralism, independence and safety of journalists. It is intended as a tool for implementing the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which recognizes the importance of ensuring public access to information and protecting fundamental freedoms among its goals. The report shows that media independence is weakening and the professional standards of journalism are being eroded by economic forces on the one hand and lack of recognition by political actors on the other.
According to Lydia Gachungi from UNESCO Regional Office for Eastern Africa, UNESCO assessed the Global Trends in Freedom of expression and Media Development using the frame of the Windhoek Declaration of Media Freedom, Media Independence, Safety of Journalists, Having a plurality of media choices with a special focus on gender equality in the media. In a presentation, Gachungi said that the report provides a global perspective for those seeking to understand the changing global media landscape.
She stated that the report calls for proactive opportunities to build more capacity of women and develop an online presence that will liberate from newsroom hierarchies, to enhance gender equality online with the aim of addressing the shrinking space. italso advocates and supports progressive cyber security laws that do not hinder freedom of expression and media freedom, Support more MIL/Digital literacy for all and build the capacity of media on issues of access, privacy, safety and security and the ethical use of information, media and technology, in line with human rights standards.
“The report provides room for us to carry out continuous research on continental and global online media landscape, trends and exchange of good practices. It builds the capacity of the media to survive in the digital era, by innovating and generating relevant content, distribute information nationally and across. It also recommends countries to increase coordination, cooperation and knowledge sharing to promote this debate,” she said.
Addressing journalists and representatives from the Ugandan Media, academia, government, civil societies and private sector on the launch of the 2017/2018 Global Report on “World Freedom of Expression and Media Development that was held in the Tele-Conference Hall Makerere University Senate Building, Hon. Meddie B.Mulumbaappreciated the tremendous efforts by UNESCO to put together a report that is not only viewing the critical importance of the evidence-based analysis in developing appropriate actions, but also covering a fundamental human right; ‘freedom of expression’.
According to Hon.Mulumba, the issue of media freedom is a concern of all citizens, not rather just media fraternity or human rights defenders. Freedom of the press and other media and the individuals’ freedom of expression are indivisible and interdependent. The promotion and protection of media freedom enhances the wide freedom of speech and expression of individuals and the public.
“Freedom of expression underpins all other human rights and freedoms. Individuals must be free to exercise their rights to think, form an opinion, freely seek, receive and impart ideas and opinions, in order for them to effectively realise all their other human rights that are prerequisite for their human dignity. the Constitution of Ugandan provides in article 29 that, “every person shall have the right to freedom of speech and expression which shall include freedom of the press and other media,” this right is also provided for in a number of other international and regional human right instruments ratified by Uganda that equally underscore its great significance,” he said.
The Commissioner, also noted that the launch of the report provides another opportunity for stakeholders to be reminded that a lot needs to be done to ensure full respect of the freedom of expression. A soul-searching research is required not only to ensure improvement in observance of all human rights that are at stake but also to prevent retrogression on the aspects on which gains have already been registered. He urged all media practitioners to use the report to recommit themselves to raising the bar of their professionalism by adhering to their professional ethical code and guard against misusing their important role as enablers of the enjoyment of the rights to information in their respective communities.
According to Hon Mulumba, the 2017/2018 Global Report on “World Freedom of Expression and Media Development clearly indicates that there is also increased recognition and enhancement of the rights to access information, the need for training and professionalism and acknowledgement that cyber space requires regulation. In the same spirit, the report indicates that journalists are increasingly playing their role as human rights defenders; and actions to enhance the safety of journalists.
He appreciated the positive development the report cited in the media landscape across the world when he said, “such developments including the legal guarantees for freedom of expression and the media freedom; technology leading to the unprecedented influence on the internet with the emergence of new media having the potential to expand the freedoms, the information sources as well as actors who are currently beyond the journalists are more important.”
He was however, concerned about the disruptive effects of these developments and tasked the human right defenders, enforcers and all stakeholders to monitor them closely.“We should be more concerned about the disadvantages brought about by the diminishing space for journalism in its traditional sense; the abuse and misuse of social media as a source of false or unverified news; the lack of independence from commercial interests; the tendency for some journalists to put profiteering above professionalism and its negative impact on neutrality and objectivity; the metamorphosis of some journalists into government spies; the lack of regard for the special duties and responsibilities that come with media freedom; the increased attacks on journalists causing loss of their equipment and lives in several instances; kidnaping and illegally detaining them; and impunity for violation of these rights,” he mentioned.
According to him, any attack or illegitimate restriction on media freedom inevitably impacts negatively on the general freedom of speech and expression of individuals. He therefore called for indispensable role of free, independent, vibrant and gender-sensitive media in a functioning democracy. Hon. Mulumba said that he has no doubt that the findings of media freedom and its key pillars of pluralism, independence and safety as presented by in the global report will be instrumentalin informing the appropriate actions for industry self-regulation, policy and law reform as well as effective implementation of existing frame works.
The Commissioner stated that the Human Rights Commission in Uganda has severally spoken out against violence of media freedom in Uganda particularly, during the periods of heightened political tension such as elections and increased criminality where by journalists have been specifically targeted.The Commission has recorded some cases of human rights violations against journalists and the incidents have been also documented in the Commission’s annual and special reports with recommendations for action by the concerned institutions.
“As a stakeholder in Human rights protection and promotion in Uganda, the Commission pledges to follow up the findings and recommendations with the concerned parties. We will closely monitor the implementation of the state obligations of freedom of expression and media freedom as stipulated in the Constitution of Uganda and other human rights instruments including the 2030 Agenda for sustainable Development and the UN Plan of Action on the safety of journalist,” he said.
The Norwegian Ambassador to Uganda H.E Susan Eckey acknowledged the report’s efforts to address the issue of gender inequality in the journalism profession. According toHer, women remain underrepresented in the media workforce, decision making roles and in media content, both as sources and subjects.
“Fortunately, there are responses to the continuing marginalisation of women. A range of civil society organisations, media outlets and individuals have developed initiatives to change the picture like UNESCO-initiated the Global Alliance of media and Gender, and by applying a Gender- Sensitive Indicators for media. In Uganda, we have Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET), their members and other organisations working to promote the voice of women, including in the media. Norway is proud to support such organisations. This include; the important work of the International Federation of journalists, the Norwegian Union of Journalists, and Norwegian andInternational PEN,” she said.
According to H.E Susan Eckey, defending human rights can be difficult and even be dangerous,especiallyfor those raising human rights issues in their own country. She therefore called for attention and support from the international community to encourage human rights defenders to keep up their efforts and to also provide effective protection.
“Female media workers face particular challenges, such as sexual harassment and gender violence, only because they want to do their job. They may be more at risk than men when they are reporting from field, including in conflict areas. The ground breaking #metoo campaign has directed our attention to the discrimination, unwanted attention and illegal acts also women in the media are subjected to. Women as well as men, should be hired and respected for the work they do,” she emphasized.
Speaking aboutjournalist security and Impunity, the representative of the Norwegian National Commission of UNESCO and JMIC/OsloMet, Prof. Rune Ottoseninformed the audience that UNESCO has taken steps towards the formalisation of a system of focal points for the safety of journalists with in relevant United Nations entities. He revealed that the report is a living proof that there is a lot to been done.
“We learn from the report that although the killing of foreign correspondents tend to garner international Publicity, itis overwhelmingly local journalists who are killed while reporting on local expression of war, corruption or other activities of criminal groups. This trend holds across all regions. Political groups, military officials, insurgents and sought to silence the voices of journalists,” Prof. Ottosen explained.
To bring out the clear picture of impunity, Prof. Ottosen brought out local and international freelancers as another group of journalists that is at risk. According to him, local freelancers suffer the most, they take the higher risks and they are untrained and unequipped. They barely get paid and they don’t even get the by-lines. Most of the freelancersaround the world are young and inexperienced and this combination constitutes a death trap.
The Dean School of Languages, Literature and Communication Dr. Aaron Mushengyezi appreciated the report’s findings and recommendations to the media fraternity in Uganda. To him, a good environment has to be fostered by both state and non-state actors in which journalists can freely operate. Represented by the Deputy Principal, the Principal of College of Humanities and Social Sciences Prof. Edward Kirumirasaid, MakerereUniversity is willing to put into action the recommendations and make a follow up with debates and discussions on the findings of the report.
“As a media training institution Makerere University is taking interest in press freedom. We are very keen about respecting media freedom in our country but there instances where the state has not done enough. It is therefore our responsibility to advise the press to do its work,” he noted.
The launch involved an interactive discussion on how the findings of the 2017/2018 Global Report on “World Freedom of Expression and Media Development are relevant to the Ugandan media fraternity. Moderated by Mr. Charles Mwanguhya, Bureau Chief at the East African News Paper, the panellists included; Assoc. Prof. Fredrick Jjuuko,who teaches Media Law at the Department of Journalism and Communication, ProfessorGoretti Linda Nassanga from Makerere University Department of Journalism and Communication and Mr. Daniel Kalinaki, a Ugandan Journalist working with the Nation Media Group as General Manager in Uganda in charge of Editorial.
Article by: Proscovia Nabatte, Mak-Public Relations Office
Call For Nominations for the Position of Chancellor Makerere University
Makerere University invites nominations for the position of Chancellor of the University.
Purpose of the position
The Chancellor is the titular head of the University, presides over all ceremonial assemblies of the University and confers degrees and other academic titles and distinctions of the University.
Please see Download below for details.
The deadline for submission of nominations is 11th January 2024 at 5:00 p.m. East African Time.
Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda calls for full involvement of men and boys in achieving Gender Equality
The Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda Her Excellence Maria Håkansson has emphasized the need to fully engage men and boys in all the initiatives geared towards achieving Gender Equality in Uganda and other parts of the world. She said this on 28th November 2023 at a press conference organized by the Embassy of Sweden in close collaboration with Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, UN Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to unveil the National Orange Pledge campaign and officially launch the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The press conference was headlined by a Ugandan rapper and record producer Daniel Lubwama Kigozi, popularly known by his stage name Navio and his fellow from Sweden Jason Michael Bosak Diakité popularly known as Timbuktu. Over 200 students both male and female from Makerere University and other institutions of higher learning attended the press conference at Makerere University Rugby Grounds.
According to Her Excellence Maria Håkansson, Gender Equality cannot be achieved without involving men and boys to take their responsibilities and be the drivers of change. “For real change to happen, we need to change attitudes and norms that might cause Gender Based Violence, one of the social ills in Uganda and an extreme of gender inequality that occurs at all levels of society,” she said.
Referring to the national survey conducted in 2020, the Ambassador was concerned about the escalating burden of gender based violence in Uganda when she said, “the Survey highlighted that 95% of women and girls experience physical or sexual violence since the age of 15.”
She therefore emphasized the Global 16 Days of Activism as key international movement to increase awareness and advocate for an end to Gender Based Violence. The Ambassador also mentioned that preventing and responding to Gender Based Violence is a cornerstone for Sweden’s commitment to promote democracy, human rights and gender equality and this is done as an investment in a society that upholds the principles of equality, dignity and justice.
She acknowledged the full participation of university students in all campaigns and activities geared towards achieving gender equality as well as ending Gender Based Violence when she said, “You are the leaders of tomorrow and you have an opportunity to build a future where everyone can thrive. So please use today to take an active stand against Gender Based Violence.”
Every year Uganda joins the rest of the world to enhance the global campaigns on 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and also add a voice to the call for an end to violence against women and girls. These campaigns run from 25th November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) until 10th December of the Human Rights Day.
The United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 initiative calls for global action to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations to help end all types of violence against women and girls. This year 2023, the UNiTE campaign theme is; Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls.
Over the years, Makerere University through its Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and School of Women and Gender in partnership with UN Women and many other partners have been at the fore front to support the campaign on 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence in Uganda. This has been done through debates, theatre forums, student dialogues, thematic artistic presentations, media exposures, drama and music skits presentation, and student peer led discussions and quarterly competitions.
This year 2023, the University in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden, UN Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) unveiled the Orange Pledge. According to Eric Tumwesigye the Senior Gender Specialist at Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, this campaign calls upon government, policymakers, activists, civil societies, academicians, students and all members of community from all parts of the country to make their heartfelt pledges towards ending Gender Based Violence in Uganda and the rest of the world.
The UN Women Country Representative Paulina Chiwangu recognized the investment Makerere University, the Embassy of Sweden and UNFPA have made to end violence against women and girls. “Thanks to our collective efforts, the silence that used to shroud violence against women has now been broken” said.
In the same spirit, she acknowledged the progress Makerere University has made in establishing and implementation of the University’s Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment to protect students and staff from potential abuses of power and conflict of interest. She also applauded the increased support and training for students and the strengthened mechanisms for investigations that allow students and staff to anonymously report sexual misconduct.
“We are however, aware that despite this, sexual harassment is still happening in the university and that not many students report to the authorities when they experience it. It is therefore, our humble appeal to the university leadership to continue monitoring the implementation of the Policy and Regulations Against Sexual Harassment, take all allegations of sexual harassment and violence seriously, ensure that all personnel have information on available support services and take action to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.”
Reaffirming the University’s position in fighting GBV and particularly sexual harassment, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe was highlighted the various measures Makerere University has put in place to prevent and respond to Gender Based Violence. To him, the Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment; the appointment and capacity building for the Vice Chancellor’s Roster of 100 eminent people from the various colleges and administrative units; recruitment and training of the Gender Mainstreaming Programme Student Peer Trainers and setting up Sexual Harassment Investigation Committees are bigger milestones to celebrate.
He appreciated the move by the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and all the partners to embrace entertainment and artistry as a critical advocacy and awareness tool to reach several communities especially the youth.
“We firmly believe in the transformative power of music and the arts in promoting social change. Music and art does serve as a powerful medium to advocate for the world free from violence especially violence against women,” said to Mr. Dainel Alemu, the UNFPA Deputy Country Representative.
“It is heartening to see artists like Navio taking a stand and using their influence to challenge harmful norms. As we revel in the beats and melodies, let us not forget he underlying message that everyone , regardless of gender, has a role to play in fostering a world where everyone is free from shackles of gender based violence,” he added.
Speaking at the Press Conference at Makerere University Rugby Grounds, Navio said that for the 20 years he has been an activist of Gender Based Violence, he has faced the reality of many young girls and women in Uganda being victims of sex and physical abuse. He therefore sent a huge condemnation to men especially artists that who are perpetrators of Gender Based Violence and called for serious government action and clear policies and laws against such injustices.
Navio applauded the women and men who have stood tall over the years to fight against Gender Based Violence in Uganda when he said, “ As we launch the 16 days activism in Uganda and through these pledges we are making, let us be accountable for our actions. For long in our cultures, men have considered force and violence as power and protection. They have been tough to their children hence instilling fear to the extent that the children cannot freely interact with them on serious matters such as abuse and torture.”
He applauded all families that have adopted the new parenting model of free conversations and interaction hence encouraging children to freely open up whenever they have challenges. Navio also acknowledged the role of his mother Mrs Maggie Kigozi as a human rights activist and a champion in fighting against Gender Based Violence in Uganda.
Jason Michael Bosak Diakité popularly known as Timbuktu from Sweden appreciated the wider platform provided by the music industry globally for artists to act as role models and champion of change. The rapper highlighted the need to respect women for their roles and support towards community development.
“I am a son and it is extremely important for me to respect my mother and all women. Also being a father to a beautiful daughter, I am always eager and looking forward to seeing the best future for her. I want daught to grow up in the world where she is able to feel safe and be allowed to freely associate without being discriminated or threatened because of her gender,” he said.
Scholars & Alumni of Mastercard Foundation light up Achukudu Community, Napak District
By Bernard Buteera
On Saturday 2nd December 2023, all roads led to Achukudu Community Primary School in Napak District, Karamoja sub-region, as the Scholars and Alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University commemorated their Scholars’ Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback). The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service was held at Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District in the Karamoja sub-region. Established in 2013, Achukudu Community School serves two ethnic communities—The Iteso and Karamojong.
With a total population of 1,097 pupils only three government-paid teachers, and nine community-paid teachers, the School faces a plethora of challenges. Key among the challenges is the lack of Classrooms, decent Ventilated Pit Latrines, and Desks. Therefore when the Scholars identified the School as one that deserved to be given a gift of a classroom block, it was a befitting choice!
The Scholars with support from the alumni, the Program Team, Members of the Steering Committee, and partners of the Scholars Program at Makerere University intervened by constructing a two-classroom block, which was supervised by one of the alumni who is an Engineer. Alongside the classroom block, the Scholars also provided 40 desks, helping the school meet UNEB Center eligibility criteria.
While presiding over the event, the area member of Parliament, Hon. John Bosco Ngoya, thanked the Scholars and alumni community at Makerere University for supporting the young pupils of Achukudu Primary School and the entire community by gifting them with a two-classroom block.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University for the Christmas gift of a classroom block to the young people and the entire community of Achukudu. This classroom block will go a long way in improving the learning environment of the young children of Achukudu primary school.” Hon. Ngoya pointed out.
Hon. Ngoya called upon other people to emulate the Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation in embracing the spirit of giving back to the vulnerable people in the community. On his part, he donated One Million Five hundred shillings (1,500,000/=) to help the School purchase more desks, and he had earlier contributed One million shillings (1,000,000/=) towards the construction of the classroom block.
The District Education Officer (DEO) for Napak District, Ms. Joyce Nakoya, praised the Scholars Community for embracing and practicing the spirit of giving back to other people at an early age.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation at Makerere for embracing the spirit of giving back to other people at such an early age. If all people gave back to the less privileged in our communities, we would have a better world for everyone.” Ms. Nakoya pointed out.
Ms. Nakoya further pointed out every child deserves to study in a decent environment, therefore it was a befitting cause for the Scholars to construct a classroom block for the young pupils of Achukudu community primary school, who were studying in open grass thatched classrooms.
The Program Manager of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, Ms. Jolly Okumu who led the team of Scholars, alumni, and staff to Karamoja thanked the community of Achukudu for supporting the Scholars to deliver the class block by contributing to the construction sand.
“We come here today to join with you as a community driven by a shared commitment to education, empowerment, and ethos of giving back. Today is a historic occasion as we celebrate the completion and commissioning of the classroom block, which is a remarkable testament to the transformative power of education and our unwavering spirit of community service.” Ms. Jolly remarked.
The President of the Scholars Association, Mr. Godfrey Okello, thanked all the Scholars and alumni, and all stakeholders who contributed to the construction of the classroom block, which was a dream that became a reality.
“I would like to thank my colleagues and people of goodwill who supported us to realize our dream of constructing this classroom for our young brothers and sisters of Achukudu Primary School. Together we can make a difference in the lives of our fellow young people in Uganda and Africa as a whole.” Mr. Okello remarked.
The Headteacher of the School, Mr. Eryebu Raymond, who was visibly very excited was full of praises for Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation, for what he termed as an iconic classroom block they had gifted to his School.
“This day is very special to us, we will not see this day again. We are delighted to receive the Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation from Makerere University, thank you for considering supporting our School” Mr. Eryebu excitedly remarked.
The Headteacher revealed that one of the major challenges the school was facing was an acute shortage of classrooms for his 1,097 pupils. He was therefore grateful to Mastercard Foundation Scholars for choosing to construct a two-class block for the School.
“This donation of a classroom block and Desks is a testament to your commitment to education and empowering the lives of the vulnerable people in the community. This classroom block and desks will go a long way in improving the quality of teaching and learning at our school.” Mr. Eryebu further remarked.
The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback) was punctuated with a lot of joy, pomp, and fanfare, as the pupils and the entire community of Achukudu danced and ululated at the commissioning of the classroom block. The construction of the classroom block and purchase of desks for Achukudu Community Primary School was made possible by generous contributions by the Scholars, alumni, the Program Team, and members of the Steering Committee.
Among the Partners who made financial contributions towards the class block construction included; DFCU Bank, Post Bank, URA, Katumba Estates, Footsteps Furniture Ltd, and Sion Travels Ltd.
The Scholars and Alumni Day of Community Service (Give back) is an annual event, where Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation go out into the community to give back by providing solutions to challenges that a particular community is facing. Over the years Scholars have given back to the communities in numerous ways that range from offering professional services and erecting major projects like classroom blocks.
Bernard Buteera is the Communications and Public Relations Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.
General2 weeks ago
Application Forms for Admission to Public Universities 2024/2025
General2 weeks ago
African Universities urged on developing comprehensive safeguarding policies with critical elements of safety & protection
Agriculture & Environment2 weeks ago
Soybean Breeders Deliberate Strategies for Improving Productivity
General1 week ago
Scholars & Alumni of Mastercard Foundation light up Achukudu Community, Napak District
Engineering, Art & Tech2 weeks ago
Innovations using low cost locally available materials for point of use water treatment system unveiled