The Executive Director of the Uganda Media Center, also the government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo, has warned journalists and media practitioners to avoid taking political sides and adhere to the fundamental principles of journalism.
While delivering a lecture of opportunity on professional media and journalism in a multiparty dispensation to over 600 journalists undertaking a one week symposium at Kyambogo University on Wednesday, January 8, 2023, Ofwono noted that objective reporting must be guided by facts.
He asked journalists to avoid spreading hate speech based on individual feelings and emotions but instead apply and exercise professionalism in their work.
According to Opondo, journalists must refrain from subjectivity, biasness, among other unethical acts.
“A professional journalist must maintain the core principles of journalism,” he said.
He urged journalists to enrich themselves with factual information through regular reading in order to report based on facts by conducting thorough research.
“What differentiates a professional journalist from the usual journalist is the quality of the work, and this can be done through continuous reading.The work of a journalist is to inform and educate others. Therefore, one can’t do this when he or she isn’t informed,” Opondo added.
“Avoid getting involved in partisan politics when carrying out their work. Professional or embedded political journalists need to be analytical and not biased,” he stressed.
He therefore cautioned journalists against taking political sides and advised them to take a leave or resign if they want to take sides in politics, citing his example when he asked to resign to support his political wing during the 1996 General Elections while still the political editor at the New Vision Newspaper.
“When we talk about democracy, it doesn’t mean only casting votes but the democratic feeling of an individual. Where people feel that they are part of the election and change of leadership,” he stressed.
He said that political journalists need to understand the theme of what makes people in the same system disintegrated, stagnated, or maybe be viable.