Communication experts have urged media practitioners to embrace technology as a medium for development and transformation of the information and communication sector in Uganda. During the Annual Media Convention held on Thursday, 30th April 2015, in the Makerere University Main Hall, participants observed that advancement in technology presents opportunities but also challenges that require urgent attention. In the earlier days, all a journalist needed to be in the field was a pen and a notebook but things have changed because of the usage of digital gadgets like mobile phones, and laptops,” said Professor Nassanga Gorretti Linda in her presentation titled: “ICTs and Changing Newsroom Culture in Africa: Implications for Training”. Prof. Nassanga is Graduate Programmes Coordinator in the Department of Journalism and Communication at Makerere University.
Engaging in various discussions under the theme: “Media, ICT, and Development: the New Era of Productivity and Transformation of Journalism and Communication”, Communication Specialists analyzed the impact of new media, particularly social media (Facebook, Myspace, LinkedIn YouTube, twitter) on the practice of journalism and communication.
They also examined the use of various platforms such as blogs, podcasts, wikis, and message boards in the production and sharing of media content.
In his keynote speech; “Is Technology a Friend or Enemy?, the Executive Director, Uganda Communications Commission, Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi, said despite the challenges presented by technology, it has empowered people to be creative and enhanced communication.
“Due to digitalization and the technological revolution, communication is faster. We can now access TV, radio and newspapers on our mobile phones. Internet has also enabled us to have interactive platforms like social media which is now dominating the era; the world is moving away from voice to data communication,” he explained.
“I therefore suggest there should be a course in communication engineering as it is a case in telecom and electrical engineering to bridge the gap brought about by media convergence.”
According to the Head of the Department of Journalism and Communication, Dr. William Tayeebwa, the Annual Media Convention was started in 1998. It brings together practitioners, scholars, policy makers, researchers and students in the field of journalism and communication as well as institutions, civil society organizations, Government regulatory bodies and corporates actively engaged in ICTs, Journalism and Communication to brainstorm on the opportunities, challenges and prospects of media, journalism and communication at national, regional and global level.
Dr Tayeebwa revealed the departments’ plan to establish an African Media dorm and Campus Television and appealed for support to develop the broadcasting cluster.
Commenting on media as the fourth arm of Government, the Minister of State for Planning in the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, Hon. David Bahati, appreciated the contribution of the media in maintaining the flow of information in the country.
“It my great pleasure to honor those men and women who have distinguished themselves above the crowd and are contributing towards the development of Journalism and Communication in this country,” he said.
He cautioned journalists against sensational reporting. “One time a certain newspaper falsely reported that President Museveni was going to commit suicide. It is humorous but it hurts all of us. We should focus on comparative and analytical issues in relation to National development. Also tap into the rich and unexploited culture like animation,” he advised.
He applauded the organizers of the event saying it is important for practitioners to have a platform for sharing views about the emerging trends in the industry.
The Dean, School of Languages, Literature and Communication, Dr. Aaron Mushengyezi, commended the Department of Journalism and Communication for maintaining a culture of what he described as a good forum for exchanging ideas. Commenting on the theme of the event, Dr Mushengyezi noted that debating the convergence of ICTs and the media is important for the advancement of the media and communication industry in Uganda.
During the event, Daily Monitor Managing Editor Carol Beyanga handed over the Tebere-Mudin award and a cash prize of Shs1 million to Mr. Sammuel Kamugisha, the best performing student, academic year 2013/14. Mr Kamugisha scored a CGPA of 4.49. He is a journalist with the Observer newspaper. The Tebere-Mudin annual commemorative Award is given to the overall best Journalism and Communication student. It is sponsored by Daily Monitor in honour of former editors, Richard Tebere and Rashid Mudini who died in a gruesome motor rally accident in Karamoja in 1998.
Meanwhile, NTV Managing Director Agnes Konde unveiled a new citizen journalism application, NTVGO which she encouraged journalism and communication students to take advantage of by capturing news and information that can be sent and aired on NTV.
In his closing remarks, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, said the government needs to recognize the core role played by the media in the development of the nation. “We are living in an information age and without the media we cannot operate,” he said.
The Convener, Dr. Annette Kezaabu Kasiimbazi, extended the Department’s gratitude to the sponsors of the event. They included Uganda Communication Commission, Bank of Uganda, Parliament of Uganda, UMEME, Office of the Prime minister, Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development, The Observer Newspaper, Uganda Wild life Authority, Electricity Regulation Authority, Vision Group, Monitor Publications Ltd and NTV Uganda.
Papers presented at the Annual Media Convention 2015
- 1. ICTs and Changing Newsroom Culture in Africa: Implications for Training by Prof. Nassanga Gorretti Linda
- 2. Integrating Multiple Communication Techniques: Including Social Media into Training, by Dr. Litho Patricia
- 3. Managing Corporate Reputation in the Era of ICTs” by Ms. Christine B. Alupo, Director Communications, Bank of Uganda (BOU)
- 4. The Increased Application of Social Media in the Ugandan Public Relations Industry, by Henry Rugambwa, Communications Director, UMEME
- 5. The Role of New Media in Enhancing Development in Uganda, by Mr. Michael Niyitegeka
- 6. Communities in Control of their own Integrated Technology Development Processes - the Blogging Revolution, by Mr. Denis Jjuuko
- 7.Opportunities and Challenges for a Multimedia Business in Uganda, by Mr. Gerald Businge, Ultimate Media Consult
- 8.Deployment of Report Application to Enhance Citizen Journalism, by Mrs. Agnes Konde, Nation Television (NTV) Group
In case you are interested in details in any of the papers, please contact:
Dr. Annette Kezaabu
Lecturer and Convention Convener, Department of Journalism and Communication
Cell-phones: +256-778-888184 or +256-700-964 144