“The submissions that these people are giving rotate around the shrinking professionalism at workplaces and in the field”.
They indicate that the journalists have become irresponsible while doing their work contrary to what they owe to the public members.
Mr. Peter Okello Jabweri, a member to the media council says journalists and the entire media fraternity all have immense power to influence the society and so doing they should always publish or broadcast the content that develops the society rather than tearing it a apart or leading it astray.
“We have received complaints, some serious and others unserious but as the council act upon them but you media practitioners must be careful with what you give to the public because you have that immense power to influence public thinking. Respect the law and provide what owe the public,” Mr. Okello says
Mr. Okello maintains that media have to work on the interests of the public and therefore should be self checking and responsible to avoid going above the board.
He advises that the media have a greater social responsibility of serving members of the society and that the responsibility is bigger than the reporters themselves and media owners who should not put only what they want on air or on streets.
“The spectrum is owned by the listenership or audience in the public and therefore choosing what goes on air by the owners is not ethical,” Mr. Okello claims
According to Mr. Okello, journalism is a profession which is a fulltime occupation and principle source and those working as journalists must respect the code of ethics.
He adds that the practicing journalists in the country need acquisition of specialized knowledge and skills through formal training and in the long run, they will realize the small mistakes that are hampering the profession and making it most hated in society.
To be a profession, there is need for successful completion of training and issuance of a certificate also called a license to someone who is going to practice journalism according to the experts.
Mr. Vennis Omona, the Media council of Uganda representative of the public attributes the dwindling respect of media ethics to the highest level of carelessness among the practitioners who have minded less when handling the public as the consumers of the content.
“As a journalist, you have to be careful when handling the public without forgetting the fact that they are your consumers and we serve their interests. Sometimes you tend to think that the members of the public are ignorant yet they care very much and they also wonder how you work. They know what they want and we must exhibit the highest degree of ethics while handling them,” Charges Mr. Omona
He confirms that the media industry has failed to select people who really qualify and it’s an industry where staffing is determined by the relationship you have with the media bosses and this has made it hard for ethics and professionalism to thrive.
Mr. Omona asks journalists to avoid sensational reporting and broadcasting which has become a characteristic of the media.
“You must change. Vices like drunkenness, wearing of short and tight clothes should not be mentioned among you. Journalists are treated in any way because that’s how they treat themselves. Better size up and be very careful how you work if you are to succeed,” says Mr. Omona.
The media experts advise journalists to study and improve their professional ethics if they are to avoid stains like character assassination while serving the communities they live in.
Declining journalism ethics worry media experts
17 February 2014
Following what transpired in the February Elections, the Media Council of Uganda is conducting regional media dialogues to engage and mediate, promote access to information, amplify citizens’ voice and participation in democracy through professional media.
Media experts from the media council, funded by United Nations Development Program (UNDP) are moving across regions of Uganda reaching out to reporters, Editors. Bureau chiefs, media managers, owners and others, convening them in mediation engagement to make practitioners and owners respect the law and professionalism and know what they should and should not due in execution of their duties and responsibilities.