Friday, May 26, 2017

Media and the Newspaper Industry

Today, we met with three journalists from the print news industry. Charles and Mark were from the Daily Monitor which is the second largest newspaper in Uganda, and John works for New Vision which is the oldest newspaper. Charles spoke to us about the history of media in Uganda and the legal framework for it. He explained that newspapers were originally started by missionaries, but are now mostly run by enterprises. He also spoke to the challenges of government control in the media and the emergence of online news that is unable to generate revenue. Legally, the media is dictated by three main laws that offer different levels of freedom in different realms of media. John spoke to us mainly about life as a journalist. He stressed the importance of formal training as well as informal training to learn how to best work with the people of Uganda to get the most out of his searches for information, and though they don't get a huge paycheck, journalists are drawn to this calling with a passion for sharing news with the country.

They mentioned that media relates to sustainability through the social realm, what effects does media have on the pillar of social inclusion?

How have we seen media in play in other events and people we've spoken to?

6 comments:

  1. Kaley, great description of the panel. The journalists mentioned that the most popular form of media in Uganda is radio, and that it is highly controlled by enterprises. Enterprises then have a great deal of power over how Ugandan's perceive the world the parts of the world that they can not see. Media can easily be consumed without attention to context, leading people to be ignorant.
    We experienced this the other day when touring Luriza Prison, when Drake and MUBS students were surprised to find out that inmate life is not exactly the same (or as torturous) as media portrays.

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  2. Great observations, Kaley. I thought the government's control on the media was very interesting, especially when the panel was talking about having limited access to information and data they needed. I think it would be beneficial for the human rights organization that spoke to us to advocate for freedom of the press. If the press had more freedom then they could show the corruption in the government. In turn, this holds government officials responsible and could possibly decrease corruption in Uganda. This would improve the sustainability of social inclusion through the media. People being well-informed about the truth creates social inclusion within communities. The social inclusion could then inspire someone to come up with a concrete plan to decrease corruption and get Uganda on a more sustainable path.

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  3. Nice recap Kaley. To me, as an aspiring journalist, I think that media has a huge effect on the social inclusion pillar of sustainable development. Media, in my opinion, informs the public about affairs that are relevant and will affect their lives. This then is a catalyst for members of the society to either support or protest against new policies, legislation, government actions, business related issues, social events, etc... Although I think it is important to include that media itself is not a medium for change but a method of discovering what needs to be changed. It assists in sustainable development because it allows residents to participate in their society though reliable information. Many of the NGOs that we visited on the trip have used media as an outlet of advocacy. The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative used media to advocate on behalf of the people to insure that their rights given to them by the constitution were protected. TASO used media as an information outlet to increase AIDS awareness in Uganda. Media is a tool that can be used in many fields to induce social participation which is essential to sustainable development.

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  4. Thanks Kaley for the great blog post and challenging question. I noticed when Charles explained about the history of journalism and media how the government has done an active job to sensor the media. He explained how the government has a monopoly over most formal written and radio mediums of news. They vet people that want to start radio stations for example and make sure that they do not have anti-government opinions that they will spread to the masses. This shows that the government is blocking most of the social inclusion for the media to expose events and spread knowledge. Without this, the sustainability is missing because people are not properly informed and not allowed to be in an industry either. Charles did mention that social media is acting as a check and balance to the system because stories are being spread that the government cannot control and become viral. As a result, the media industry has started to learn more towards the social media and the social inclusion of the media development is becoming more sustainable.

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  5. Awesome summary, Kaley! These are some great questions you pose. Media definitely has a large impact on the pillar of social inclusion. First and foremost, it keeps the population informed through a variety of outlets. The journalists mentioned that radio was the most widespread, but all media outlets seemed to be constricted to some extent. Licensing procedures for radio stations and the shut down of some opposition newspapers leads me to question whether the media in Uganda is able to reach its full potential for societal impact. If the government silences one voice, even if only for a little bit, it can reduce the political power of certain interest groups and therefore decrease social inclusion. While I think the media in Uganda offers many different perspectives with a multitude of radio stations and two major newspapers (Daily Monitor and New Vision), its impact is limited by government intervention. Overall, the media itself has a large impact on social inclusion, but the Ugandan government serves as a countermeasure to this impact.

    The most interesting encounter I had with Ugandan media over the course of the trip was listening to the radio while Fred was driving us back from Kikandwa. The radio sounded very similar to stations in the US, but I did not get to hear much news or politics during the car ride. From what I did hear, I could not detect any bias or difference in perspective.

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  6. Fantastic post, Kaley! I think that the media has a huge effect on social inclusion in Uganda. During the lecture, I was reminded back to the event at Human Rights Organization in which the speaker was passionate in her duty to call out the government in its wrongs. Media in Uganda has the same responsibility, yet the journalists we met with did not see what power they withhold. The people need to recognize the wrongs of the government in order for the problems to be addressed. I think communication is vital for any kind of change, and many people are unaware of what is going on around them. The media forms this connection between people and their world. I think that journalists in Uganda have great responsibility to report in order to induce change.

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