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
Rotary International President visits Mak
Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta has appreciated Makerere University for supporting and carrying forward the newly introduced programme aimed at advancing peace on the African Continent. Launched in January 2020, the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University runs a postgraduate diploma programme in Peace-building and Conflict Transformation. The hands-on program entails coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict. Other studies focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.
At a high level meeting held with the University leadership on 15th September 2021 at CTF1, President Shekhar Mehta said Rotary International was proud to be partnering with Makerere to promote peace on the African Continent. “The mere absence of war does not translate into total peace. Besides war, there are many other factors undermining peaceful co-existence. It is our duty to address these issues so as to create harmony in our communities. Through the Rotary Peace Centres across the globe, we are undertaking a number of initiatives aimed at promoting peace. Since 2002, the Rotary Peace Centres have trained more than 1,300 fellows who are working to advance peace in more than 115 countries. We are happy to work with Makerere University to foster peace and development on the African Continent,” he noted. President Shekhar Mehta, who was on a three-day tour of Rotary projects in Uganda, was visiting Makerere for the first time since the University won the bid to host the International Rotary Peace Centre, the first of its kind on the African Continent.
President Shekhar Mehta, who was in company of past and current Governors of Districts 9213 and 9214, said peace was a necessary catalyst for the progress of humanity and general development of nation states across the globe. Elected for the 2021-22 term, President Shekhar Mehta, through his year theme Serve to Change Lives, asks Rotarians to participate in service projects where they can make a difference in their communities and the people who live in them. Since he joined Rotary in 1984 as a member of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India, President Shekhar Mehta has led many major service initiatives in India and South Asia, including among others, constructing 500 homes for Tsunami survivors at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and starting the Shelter Kit programme in India which has served about 20 disasters and benefited about 75,000 disaster victims.
Delivering her remarks, the Chairperson Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara appreciated Rotary International for entrusting Makerere University with the mandate to host the first rotary peace centre on the African Continent. “Choosing to house the Centre at Makerere University shows Rotary International’s trust and confidence in Makerere and her vision for building for the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of Rotary International’s agenda. We also sincerely appreciate Rotarians all over the world who have committed funds to support the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University,” she noted. Similarly, she appreciated The Rotary Foundation (TRF) of Canada for setting up an endowment fund for the Peace Centre. “This will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the Peace Centre at Makerere University. The fund will help in the Capstone week where Fellows will present their social initiatives. These initiatives will showcase how the Rotary Peace Centre contributes to positive peace initiatives all over the world.”
In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe informed the President that the decision to establish the first Rotary Peace Centre in Africa at Makerere University was welcomed with ‘excitement and gratefulness’. “We consider this to be a vote of confidence in our efforts in the peace and conflict resolution agenda. We extend our appreciation to Rotarians in Uganda and beyond for selflessly supporting this noble cause.” The Vice Chancellor appreciated the leadership of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere, and the Director of the Centre, Dr Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala for their tireless efforts in ensuring the centre achieves the intended objective.
By the end of this year, the Centre will have hosted two cohorts of peace fellows. The first cohort was at Makerere University between February and May, 2021. Currently, these Peace fellows are carrying out their peace initiatives in their communities. The second cohort will report on September 27, 2021. In both cohorts, Peace Fellows were chosen from 20 countries and by the end of the year, the Centre will have had a total of 36 Fellows.
Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders
The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), Makerere University on 14th September 2021 presented findings from phase one of the study on Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. The study team led by the Director GMD and Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine also consists of Assoc. Prof. Consolata Kabonesa, Dr. Anna Ninsiima, Ms. Frances Nyachwo, Ms. Susan Mbabazi and Mr. Eric Tumwesigye.
The team is also made of coordinators from participating Universities such as Busitema University-Ms. Elizabeth Birabwa, Kabale University-Sr. Dr. Eva Tumusiime, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)-Dr. Specioza Twinamasiko, Muni University-Ms. Amandru Stella Wawa, and Gulu Univeristy-Sr. Rosalba Aciro.
Funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the study was inspired by the fact that women are persistently few in numbers as staff, more so in leadership and decision-making organs of Ugandan Public Universities. “This is despite all the various efforts at national and international levels; the numbers are not growing as fast as needed to meet development goals of the country” explained Dr. Euzobia.
Based on this background, the study team therefore sought to conduct a situational analysis of the gender terrain of the six public universities to obtain baseline information encompassing the composition of governance and leadership organs and senior staff by sex, as well as a needs assessment and profiles of potential mentors and mentees.
Furthermore, the team sought to explore the capacity to conduct gender-responsive research as well as the role of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions within the universities as the drivers of development.
Dr. Mugisha-Baine shared that results of the baseline would then be used to design participatory training manuals or guides on gender and leadership. The manuals would cover; Institutionalized mentorship, How to conduct gender-responsive research, gender and equity budgeting, among others.
“Within these manuals, we shall have a male staff engagement strategy in gender equity interventions in universities” she explained.
The development of the aforementioned materials would then be followed by their adoption and use to build capacity for women not only in leadership of participating and other public university but also beyond. “We shall periodically evaluate whether the capacity we have built has influenced women’s participation in leadership and decision-making organs of the university” supplemented the PI.
The capacity building trainings for women, it is envisaged, will lay the foundation for the formation of a functional Uganda University Women’s Think Tank, starting with the six participating universities. Dr. Mugisha Baine added that through this Think Tank, a monitoring and tracking system for gender representation in recruitment, promotion, retention/turnover and leadership of public universities shall be established and maintained.
At the conclusion of phase one, the study team had drafted participatory training manuals in gender and leadership with content on; gender specific critical analysis of the leadership spectrum of public universities, positioning of individual women within the institutional framework and strategies for their advancement, gender equity advocacy in the university setting, institutional mentorship, building capacity in conducting gender-responsive research, among others.
“This content will be validated by the participating universities before the actual research training is conducted” added the PI.
On behalf of the research team, Dr. Mugisha Baine thanked the Government of Uganda for providing the resources that facilitated phase one of the study and prayed that the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) would support the next phase of capacity building.
Speaking on behalf of the Mak-RIF GMC Chairperson, Prof. William Bazeyo, Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala thanked and congratulated the team led by the Director GMD upon the milestones registered in the critical research.
“We are very proud of that work that is being done by all researchers in Mak-RIF and we would like to most sincerely thank Management for all the support throughout this process” she remarked.
Dr. Nkabala encouraged the research team to continue disseminating and using the findings for the furtherance of gender mainstreaming, particularly through the aspect of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions.
Prior to delivering the keynote address of the day, the Executive Director National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Prof. Mary Okwakol thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for inviting her to the important forum, noting that women’s participation in decision making and governance is a priority area of the Uganda Gender Policy 2007.
She commended Makerere University for being at the forefront of gender mainstreaming in Uganda, noting that this prominence was one of the reasons why the Gender in Education Policy 2007 provides for replicating the institution’s strategy in all other Higher Education Institutions.
Prof. Okwakol whose keynote address was punctuated incisive personal examples reaffirmed the statistics that women are generally not visible in leadership of Universities. That notwithstanding, in instances where they rise to leadership and decision-making positions, they are regularly subject to roles traditionally deemed as women’s inconsiderate of their managerial seniority and experience.
She nevertheless rallied the women to play their respective roles in enhancing participation and visibility at a personal level. The following were some of the strategies she proposed; work hard to acquire academic credentials so as to compete favourably with men, acquire necessary administrative training and experience, network among women, join professional networks as well as do research and publish.
On joining professional networks, she shared her personal experience as a young zoologist who joined UNESCO’s Tropical Biology and Fertility Programme. “Within a short time I was appointed Coordinator for Africa and after two years, I was elected as a Member of the International Board of Management. After serving for two years, I became Vice Chairperson of that Board and finally I became Chairperson of that International Board.”
At the institutional level, Prof. Okwakol appealed to the Chairperson Council and Vice Chancellor to proactively recruit women who meet the requirements for leadership positions even if it means actively seeking out the reluctant ones. In this regard, she shared that it would be useful for the university to develop a database of women and their qualifications to ease this process.
She shared that NCHE has in recognition of female underrepresentation at every level in Higher Education approved the establishment of a Gender and Equity Unit with the aim of promoting inclusive gender participation in the sub-sector.
“This unit has been placed under the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Accreditation which implies that as we look out for and regulate quality, gender will be a very important aspect of that regulation” she reassured.
Prof. Okwakol concluded by urging participants to read the; Third National Development Plan (NDPIII), Uganda Vision 2040, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) noting that there is no way all three can be achieved while women are left behind because they each make a case for inclusion of the female gender.
“What we are addressing here are historical injustices” said Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe as he commenced his remarks, “And in the case of Makerere University, it is well known that the institution started as a male-only institution and we all know the original motto was ‘Let us be men’” he added.
Citing examples from history such as; Marie Curie – one of the smartest physicists, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra – prominent Pharaohs of Egypt, George Eliot, Rosa Luxemburg and Hypatia – all great philosophers as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel – first female Chancellor of Germany, the Vice Chancellor said there is no plausible argument that there are things women cannot do as well as their male counterparts.
He said it was against this knowledge and in a bid to correct historical injustices that Makerere University pioneered initiatives such as putting in place affirmative action for girls, establishing a Gender Mainstreaming Directorate as well as a School of Women and Gender Studies. The Vice Chancellor nevertheless stressed the need to go beyond pioneering to protecting these gains through legislation. “Historically we have seen that discrimination can only be addressed by laws and policies.”
Prof. Nawangwe thanked the Government for providing funds to support Mak-RIF as well as the Funds GMC and Secretariat for ensuring that these funds are put to good use. He equally thanked the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara for her not only her support but also sparing time to attend a good number of the research dissemination events.
Delivering the concluding remarks, Mrs. Magara acknowledged that the study was timely and relevant the contemporary University, as one of the critical drivers of the national and international development agenda. She therefore reechoed the Vice Chancellor’s thanks to the Government of Uganda for generously supporting the University’s research through Mak-RIF.
Turning to the keynote speaker she said, “I thank Prof. Okwakol for ardently discussing the critical issues affecting the female gender, the strategies to overcome the challenges, including sharing her inspiring personal experiences.”
Mrs. Magara equally thanked Prof. Okwakol for her very instructional analysis, providing mentorship guidance with the resultant impact of enhancing the female gender in decision-making positions. In the same breath she congratulated the PI and her team upon successfully concluding phase one of the project.
“Phase one has generated insights in understanding the status of women in leadership in public universities, the legal and policy framework and its implications on women’s visibility, the institutional mentoring systems and the gaps therein” she observed.
The Chairperson of Council acknowledged that the challenge of underrepresentation of women in leadership roles cannot be resolved at an individual level. She therefore advocated for broad based strategies that can address deep-seated structural and cultural biases facing women. “These include developing mentorship networks, enacting laws and policies that address the imbalances and providing training programmes to address the leadership gaps.”
She therefore pledged the University Council’s unwavering support to the Gender Mainstreaming Programme by ensuring an enabling policy environment that facilitates gender-responsive teaching, learning, research innovation and community service.
The research dissemination was moderated by the Principal Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ms. Ritah Namisango and the Director Communications, Learning and Knowledge Management, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and PRO Mak-RIF, Ms. Harriet Adong.
Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal
The CABI Agriculture and Biosciences Journal (CABI A&B) is still in search of both Associate Editors to join the CABI A&B Editorial Board, as well as a Regional Editor-in-Chief to lead for Africa in addition to serving as a Section Editor in the area of either Environmental and SOIL SCIENCE, AGROECOLOGY, OR AQUACULTURE AND FISHERIES. Ideally CABI wants Section Editors (SE) who are prominent members of their research communities, with high-level established positions at a research institution, with a strong, current record of international collaborations and publication, with an H-index of at least 25. For Associate Editors (AE) we hope for researchers who have with established positions at a research institution (e.g., not post-docs or Ph.D. candidates), with a strong growing record of international collaborations and publication (e.g., around 8 publications in the past two years), and have an H-index of at least 15.
Very importantly, CABI hopes for SEs and AEs who are good communicators and are passionate about serving and building the journal to be an outlet for both large and small steps of sound science that will improve the lives and livelihoods of people worldwide.
Please see Downloads for the CABI EDITORIAL DIRECTORY
Interested applicants should email PHILIPPA J. BENSON, PH.D. MANAGING EDITOR | _CABI A&B | P.BENSON[at]CABI.ORG
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