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Media council to kick out unqualified journalists

Jinja- Uganda Media Council will do anything within its powers to get rid of unqualified and unprofessional practitioners, the local media industry regulator, has said.

According to the chairperson of Uganda Media Council, Mr Paulo Ekochu, a move to have the industry practitioners registered is underway. 
This, he said will distinguish the quacks from the genuine journalists.

He was speaking at the end of a three-day workshop for media practitioners in eastern Uganda last week.

“The first step will be to register all journalists in Uganda and then we shall have a ground to kick out those who are unqualified from the industry,” he said.

“I encourage you all to register with the council so that we know who is practicing professionally and who is tarnishing the name of the profession so that we can get rid of them.”

Role
According to Mr Ekochu, the Media Council’s role is to promote responsible journalism and it is for that reason that they will do all they can to fight irresponsible journalism in the country.

“Many journalists are acting irresponsibly by writing stories, which create conflicts in the society. Why should a media house publish a story saying a certain tribe here commits more crimes than other,” he wondered.

Mr Ekochu, however, refuted allegations that registering and licensing Media Houses is one of the forms of gagging the media, saying journalists have their rights and freedom, which he said must be exercised responsibly without breaching other rights.

However, while in an engagement with journalists in Jinja recently, the national coordinator, Human Rights Network for Journalists Uganda, Mr Robert Ssempala, said media industry practitioners should reject any move to have them licensed before being accepted to practice journalism.

The council, he said is a creation of the Press and Journalists Act 2005, which is a bad law and currently being challenged in court by Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda, East Africa Media Institute and the Centre for Public Interest Litigation.