By Kobusiinge Monica
Mr.Andrew Irumba emphasized on the need for all journalists to come together, read full speech bellow….
The Right Hon. Prime Minister Of the Republic of Uganda and leader of Gov’t business, Ndugu Dr.Ruhakana Rugunda
Hon. Minister of ICT Hon Frank Kagyigyi Tumwebaze
Executive Director, Uganda Communications Commission Engineer Godfrey Mutabazi
Dr.Hasmukh Dawda-The Chairman House of Dawda (Uganda) House of Manji (Kenya)
CEOs from various companies and Organizations
Leaders from various Civil Society Organizations
Fellow comrades in the media industry
Ladies and Gentlemen,
All Protocol observed,
I am extremely and singularly honoured to welcome you all to the official launch of Independent Online Journalists Association-Uganda (indoja-U) today the 29th November 2018 at Hotel Africana.
INDOJA-U is a fully registered Association that brings together online journalists in Uganda. It was legally incorporated in July 2018 as an Association by guarantee without share capital.
Its main objectives include among others; Promotion of professional, responsible and Independent journalism, free flow of authentic information and defense of the Rights and Freedoms of the press, locally, regionally and internationally.
Some of its pioneer members at the date of registration included Uganda’s major online publications namely; The Investigator news (www.theinvestigatornews.com), TheSpy Uganda.com (www.spyuganda.com), SoftPower News (www.softpower.ug), Spy reports (www.spyreports.net) , The Business focus (www.businessfocus.co.ug), The Grape vine (www.thegrapevine.co.ug) to mention but a few.
We’re also registered with the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), the regulators for all broadcasters in Uganda.
INDOJA-U is also member to the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) with two delegates to the executive namely; The president and his secretary General.
INDOJA-U is an all-inclusive body that brings together all online publishers in Uganda who aspire to play a fair game with a referee, lines men but also observers with rights to correct for the betterment of the game, the profession and our mother land Uganda and Africa as a whole.
Considering the fact that digital media has lately been largely unregulated resulting into what is largely known as fake news, half-baked stories or inaccurate reporting, a few of us, few months ago thought it important that we no longer needed to agonize, but organize!
By doing this, we needed to form an Association so that we not only self-regulate ourselves, but also lead the way in professionalizing the online media in Uganda, and that’s the birth of Independent online Journalists Association, which idea was conceived in the parking yard of Criminal Investigations Unit (CID) Headquarters in Kibuli after four of us were summoned for questioning over the former BoU director in-charge of Supervision Ms.Justine Bagyenda’s stories. Upon looking into ourselves as that particular moment as meager ‘orphans’ who everyone would find easier to interrogate us for merely talking about the alleged missing money in BoU than interrogate/investigate the suspects, we realized we needed to come together to consolidate our selves, first for our good.
If there were any other moment that signaled journalists to come together it was that moment we all found ourselves at CID, one entering after the other for record statement writing, but answering same queries. If we failed to come together in good times, surely we found ourselves together in bad times at CID! That, to some of us was an eye opener.
We’ll partner with various institutions of Government and the CSOs in a bid to improve online journalism as well as address challenges practitioners face.
INDOJA-U was also formed to ensure that media rights and freedoms of online and traditional media are respected and upheld as enshrined in the laws of Uganda including the supreme one-the Constitution.
I also want to state that access to information is a human right, no one deserves to be curtailed from accessing internet to get information, because the future is digital, the future is online.
I also want to state that it’s unfortunate that the online media is yet to be fully considered a serious driver of transformative information by the government, in as far as sharing the national advertising cake is concerned. Almost all government advertising budget is allocated to the traditional media, yet the impact of digital media in the socio-economic development of Uganda can’t be underestimated. It is therefore, my humble appeal to you Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, who is also head of government business that government embraces online media.
I also urge the Hon. Minister of ICT, who heads our line ministry to continue advocating for the space of online media in his docket and ensure that all government institutions embrace us for the betterment of this country and our mother Africa.
I want to encourage CEOs and PR managers from the private sector to embrace online media as well. It’s cost effective, timely and result oriented.
INDOJA-U shall work closely with Uganda Communications Commission in streamlining online media in Uganda, we’re willing to walk with you all the way, but we should have mutual respect for both parties’ roles and responsibilities.
We must not be subdued into strangling authentic information at the cost of regulation, because when we do so, we will have strangled our own calling as journalists.
Last but not least, we extent an olive branch to all other online publishers who are yet to join the Association, let’s come together, because we are stronger when we’re united.
The great Pan-Africanist Martin Luther King Jr, whom I follow religiously once said; ‘That we must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools’.
As I conclude, because conclude I must, I once again thank you Rt. Hon. Prime Minister, Hon Minister of ICT, UCC ED and Dr.Hasmukh Dawda for sparing time off your busy schedules to come and grace this historic occasion. It’s an honour to us that we will never even attempt to take for granted, we thank you. I also thank all of you distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen for honouring our invitation. We’re indebted to you, thank you very much.
For God and My Country,
Don’t Agonize, Organize!
Andrew Irumba Katusabe