Three journalists of The Independent walked away with prizes at the recent National Journalism Awards organized by African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME). Haggai Matsiko won in the category of National Print for the story “Inside the shs1trilion bail-out”, Ronald Musoke won Best Feature for the story “Massacre on Masaka Road” and Isaac Khisa’s “Fishing in the dark on Lake Victoria” won the award for Best Business, Finance and Economics reporting.
Another reporter Agnes Nantaba was second runner up in the category of “Arts and Culture Reporting for her piece “Money and campaign songs”. In total, The Independent had 10 nominations going into the ACME awards, including the top most- Nile Breweries Award for Exceptional Journalism where Matsiko was nominated. Solomon Serwanjja of NBS TV won the highly coveted award.
Dr Louis Kasekende, Deputy Governor of Bank of Uganda was chief guest at the function and urged journalists to provide context and relevant analysis for their stories. Kasekende noted that whereas media in Uganda has grown tremendously in terms of outlets and its vibrancy, more work needs to be done on analytical and critical reporting especially on government programs and offices.
The ACME awards this year attracted 307 entries from 186 journalists across the country. George Lugalambi, the chief judge of the awards, said it was the highest number of submissions ever and also noted an improvement in the quality of stories. A media trainer and researcher, Lugalambi urged upcountry journalists to participate more in the awards.
Monica Chibita, the chairperson of the ACME board vowed to keep supporting Ugandan media houses through trainings and research. “ACME values the key role of free media in advancing democracy and development. ACME contributes most of its efforts in contributing to excellent journalism,” she said. The awards were held at Golf Course Hotel on April 12.