The Media and security have always found themselves at the opposite ends during campaign and election season. This is expected to be no more.
Journalists assigned duties during the election period have time and again accused security agencies of using the long arm of the law to deal with them.
In a bid to forge a friendly atmosphere, top security chiefs from the different agencies on Tuesday, met NAB executives at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence CMI headquarters in Kampala.
Chairman Kin Kariisa led a group of NAB executives who among them included Galaxy FM Ltd managing director Dr. Innocent Nahabwe.
Gen. Jeje Odongo Abubaker who is also the Minister of Internal Affairs wore the armband for the several security agency chiefs at the high profile meeting.
They included; DIGP, CDF, DG ESO, DG ISO, DCI/ UPF, DCI UPDF, UPF Spokesperson, UPDF Spokesperson.
Chairman Kin described the meeting with the security chiefs as ‘cordial, fruitful and zeroed to facts’.
He told Galaxy FM 100.2 reporters that NAB raised issues of concern affecting the media to the security chiefs.
The Next Media chief said: “We raised issues of safety of the journalists during their line of duty. Interruption of the media while doing their work as the fourth estate.”
Kin added: “Disruption of business by RDCs at upcountry stations and sometimes, poor flow of information from the agencies through the media among others.”
Gen. Odongo retaliated that the is need for media to ensure its not used to destroy the security and stability of the country.
The former army commander said: “We promise to work with the media on resolving any issues that might arise during their work.”
The meeting agreed to share views candidly. They also resolved to create a tentative joint working committee to be headed by Media Centre chief and government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo.
The meeting proposed the committee sit weekly, and be charged with improving the relationship between the security and the media.
It will be tasked with ensuring continued flow of information to the public and balanced news coverage while minding security and stability of the nation.
The meeting admitted Electoral Commission EC and Uganda Communications Commission UCC to the committee.
UCC represented by George William Nyombi Thembo, the Director for the Rural Development Communication Fund and Meddy Kaggwa, Head of Multimedia, made it clear they will enforce the communications guidelines of 2019, which they say have since been availed to all those seeking renewal of their broadcast licences.
NAB affirmed they will step up their self-regulation role, minimize friction between the national regulator (UCC), security forces and the media practitioners.
Gen. Odong promised to escalate the issue of the absence of the Media Tribunal to the executive to allow for easy arbitration and resolution of media issues.
The new committee’s engagement sitting is slated for next week.
Award winning journalist and writer who has worked as a stringer for a couple of acclaimed South Africa based German journalists, covered 3 Ugandan elections, 2008 Kenya election crisis, with interests in business and sports reporting.