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ACME calls for private sector support towards quality journalism

ACME Executive Director Dr. George Lugalambi (L) speaks at the launch of new partnerships for the Uganda National Journalism Awards. Photo via @ACME_Uganda

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The African Center for Media Excellence-ACME has appealed to the private sector to support efforts geared towards the growth and development of quality journalism in Uganda since it is a key pillar for society development.

According to Dr. George Lugalambi, the ACME Executive Director, anyone including corporate entities who care about the development of the country should be interested in the development of quality and professional journalism where quality stories including those that hold different authorities accountable are told.

Speaking at the launch of the seventh edition of the ACME media awards on Tuesday, Dr. Lugalambi said that corporate bodies can support the development of professional media without compromising their ethics as journalists.

The awards are aimed at improving the quality of journalism in Uganda, by recognizing outstanding professional work. The awards play an important role in inspiring hard-working and high-performing journalists and motivating them to seek to excel in their media careers.

According to Dr. Lugalambi, they have 322 entries from 188 journalists competing in 20 categories including education, business, finance, data journalism, environment, health, local reporting, national news, politics, and sports among others.

The ACME awards that shall take place at Mestil Hotel on December 14th, 2022 had earlier been planned for early 2022, but didn’t take place because of insufficient funds. ACME, like many other organizations, had its funding interrupted when the government suspended the operations of the Democratic Governance Facility-DGF, a major funder of ACME activities including the awards.

Lugalambi says that to host the awards, ACME has partnered with corporate companies such as MTN Uganda, TotalEnergies EP Uganda, Nile Breweries, Centenary Bank, Stanbic Bank Uganda, and other bodies including National Drug Authority-NDA, National Social Security Fund-NSSF, Agrifarm Uganda, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority-CAA, CivSource Africa, Centre for Policy Analysis, and CIPESA.

MTN Uganda, the main sponsor shall support the awards with a contribution of Shillings 20 million and prizes worth Shillings 16 million. Ronah Arinaitwe, the senior Communications Manager at MTN revealed their intention is to support the development of quality journalism where even a story that companies find negative is told professionally with objectivity, balance, and fairness.

The awards shall be presented after a panel of judges have made their assessment and issued a short list expected to be ready within seven to ten days. The panel of judges led by Makerere University lecturer and former editor of the Observer newspaper, Dr. Charlotte Kawesa Ntulume, is composed of journalism academicians, researchers, and senior journalists, and communication specialists.

Dr. Ntulume says that in their assessments, they shall look at the factors such as elements of professionalism, which include fairness, objectivity, balance, and truthfulness. She says that while journalism faces challenges right from competing with social media and citizen journalists to operating with meager resources, they can maintain their professionalism and tell ethical stories to their audiences.

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