By Kobusiinge Monica
“Drinking from the past experiences, ‘walking under the mucky waters, cruising on windy waters on a hollow boat, not forgetting the rampant kidnaps of Uganda’s journalists by different security organs our country has witnessed, the signals are clear that what awaits journalists ahead could call for togetherness than ever before, who knows tomorrow?,”
Those were part of the remarks of the acceptance speech by the 1st President elect for the newly formed online Journalists’ Association- Independent Online-Journalists Association (INDOJA-U) Andrew Irumba as he took office on Monday this week.
The newly formed All-inclusive Journalists’ Organization that opened its doors on 1st August 2018 has primarily been formed to Promote Independent journalism, free flow of information and defence of the Rights and Freedoms of the journalists who have of late become very vulnerable to various state actors.
INDOJA-U, strategically located on plot 89 Bukoto Street will act as a vehicle and medium through which different media practitioners especially online journalists can express and echo their views for the betterment of our country. It will also provide media consultancy services to the public, Government Agencies, Organisations and Business community for prosperity of their businesses and co-existence among others.
“Independent Online Journalists Association-Uganda (INDOJA-U) has on the 1st of August 2018 elected its pioneer leadership since its inception in July 2018, with a mandate to defend the Rights and Freedoms of fellow journalists and revolutionalize Uganda’s online media Industry to favourably compete with the rest of the world in digital revolution,” read part of their official statement released on Monday.
Mr.Andrew Irumba, who is CEO and managing Editor of TheSpy Uganda, an online newspaper and former senior Sales Executive at RedPepper is INDOJA’s first President. He took office with the rest of the elected team members effective August 06, 2018.
“Dear colleagues, it’s an honour to serve you in this capacity, as your first President of this great Association, I’m fully aware of the reasons that have brought us together, I know the challenges we have so far faced and those ahead, by now, I hope everyone of us now agrees that when we’re together, it’s much easier to face and overcome those challenges and emerge much stronger, not as individuals per se, but as an Industry at large,’’ Irumba said.
Irumba added that INDOJA’s goal is to be the main platform of all willing independent online publishers within Uganda to ensure their Rights and Freedoms are respected and upheld. He also said that INDOJA would want to lead the way in professionalizing online media Industry.
Mr Irumba has media experience spanning over 15 years in the fields of news reporting, Public relations and advertising. He is also a known Human and media Rights defender.
Six more members were also elected into leadership roles and positions to help steer INDOJA to greater heights.
Ms. Sarah Kagingo, the CEO and Managing Editor at SoftPower News is INDOJA’s 1st Secretary General. She is a public Relations and communications consultant. Kagingo previously worked at State House as Special Presidential Assistant for Communications. Kagingo will be deputised by Mr.Bob Atwiine, an editor at Spy Reports,an online media outlet.
Speaking on her election, Ms Kagingo said; “I thank you very much for inviting SoftPower News to join you. This Association should link the online media fraternity in a bid to improve online journalism, deal with the challenges practitioners face as well as improve the quality of publications. Uganda is a beautiful country, it’s not all doom and gloom as some times portrayed”.
Sarah said that INDOJA should be a medium through which different media practitioners express and echo their views as well as a mirror of all Ugandans. The Secretary -General called upon all registered and licenced online media to join INDOJA to network and share cutting – edge practices in the fast growing digital age for the betterment of all members.
Mr Amon Baita , a senior sales and Public relations personnel with special interest in online and print media is the association’s elected publicist/Public relations officer.
He is a senior sales manager at Red Pepper Uganda and consulting marketing personnel with Business Focus, an online business magazine.
Mr Taddewo William Senyonyi, a senior business journalist and the Managing Editor and Director at Business Focus has been elected INDOJA’s Treasurer. He will be deputised by Milton Tumusiime, a director at Spy Reports.
Mr Emmanuel Bazooba, a director at Business Focus with over 20 years in the media in areas of Sales, Circulation, Administration and marketing was elected Chairperson of the INDOJA-U Disciplinary Committee that will play a key role in professionalizing online media in Uganda. Bazooba will be deputized by Mr. Dickson Mubiru, the CEO Grape Vine.
Mr Raymond Wamala, a director at Spy Reports was elected Head of Welfare and Logistics department among other related roles.
INDOJA-U recently played a pivotal role in the unconditional release of one of its members, Stanley Ndawula, the CEO and editor in-chief of The Investigator News who had been kidnapped by ISO operatives.