KAMPALA Uganda: Government is considering amending the public advertising law to benefit the online publishers, Prime Minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has disclosed.
Online publishers have been left behind out of the advertising revenue from government departments due to the existing law that only recognized print publishers and with a wide circulation.
Rugunda in a speech read for him by the ICT Minister Frank Tumwebaze said the world is now going global and the online media publishers can’t be ignored.
“I think we have been having the issue of lack of organization. As the government, we wouldn’t work with people who are not organized. Now that you have decided to come together under the Independent Journalist Association of Uganda INDOJA, we can now sit and agree how best you members can get adverts from government departments,” said Tumwebaze.
He hailed INDOJA under the able leadership of its president Mr. Andrew Irumba of coming together to unite online media fraternity. Others on the executive team include Mr. Stanley Ndawula as Vice President, Sarah Kagingo, General Secretary, Raymond Wamala Welfare and Logistics, Amon Baitwa as PRO and Milton Habasa as Treasurer.
Hon. Tumwebaze said Uganda, as a country must take advantage of the fact that a Ugandan is the one heading the international satellite body in the whole world. “We campaigned and a Ugandan, Patrick Masambu won. Buy this is not being highlighted or taken advantage off,” said Tumwebaze. He said that Uganda is also on the board in the governing world IT Body.
“Unite and become one voice. The laws governing advertisement in Uganda needs to be amended to take care of the online media. Let’s work with the association (INDOJA), UCC, Auditor General as well as PPD so that we can formally recognize online media so that they can get government adverts.”
Tumwebaze called for positive vibes about our country. “You can hate your government but don’t hate your country.” He said. Adding: “Don’t be tools of our intrigue in politics and cabinet. Don’t be tools for fighting. President Irumba gets everybody together then we can engage and see how best to work together.”
The Minister urged UCC to keep sponsoring the online media. He called for a meeting for UCC, Indoja, AG, and PPDA to guide on how to get business from government.
“If I have one million followers on twitter like Gen. Yoweri Museveni, why can’t government advertise with me? What does the law say about those with big numbers? He mused.
Uganda Communications Commission Executive Director Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi reiterated the need for Online media houses and publishers to be relevant by remaining credible, professional and efficient.
“We have a role to play as journalists. But let’s desist from fake news.,” he said.
“The only benefit that Africa has made so far is social media. We need to look at the social media on how best it can transform our society.”
“Even if you write under pseudo names, Uganda now has the capacity to trace for those generating fake news, we just decide to leave you because we know you have no capacity to cause trouble to the government.”
Eng. Mutabazi said UCC as the regulator recognizes INGDOJA and will work with it to streamline the Online media publishers.
The Chairman National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Mr. Kin Kalisa urged INDOJA to ensure professionalism. Speaking on his behalf, the deputy managing director Next Media Joe Kigozi said: “Authenticity remains an issue, most Online media publishers are not registered. They still operate in cafes, INDOJA as a member of NAB we call for professionalism and avoid fake news.”
He said, “Online Media is gullible and we are prone to fake news. What is needed is professionalism.”
Joe Kigozi said those joining must follow the rules and law in place. “Local content is very key. Professionalism is going to be the key for a successful online media. We have agreed that the future is digital, the future is online and now is the time to work together. As NAB we shall work together with INDOJA.
Sarah Kagingo, the Secretary-General said information is needed but the government needs to embrace the open door policy because now the people want it there and then.
She said INDOJA is working on an app to help curb on insecurity when attacked. “We need to appreciate UCC for coming in to sponsor the breakfast meeting,” she said.
- Patrick is a seasoned and independent Investigative Journalist, A Market Researcher, Media Consultant
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