Ugandan Journalists decries poor pay As the World Celebrates World Press Freedom Day

The world today marked World Press Freedom Day Uganda inclusive which still the media facing a lot of challenges characterized with poor pay or no pay by owner of media companies.

During this week media personalities have expressed their views about the media industry in Uganda and we have gathered several posts:

Stephen Okhutu Post

DID YOU KNOW?

Over 80% of Uganda’s journalists work as casual laborers in the newsrooms. They are paid wages on a piece rate instead of salaries. Those with contracts have service contracts instead of employment contracts.

When Philly publicly declared his HIV status, he was stigmatized. When Sheila publicly declared her newsroom pay, she is equally being stigmatized and called names by the public and fellow media practitioners alike. 

The good thing is, these voices contribute to fighting the vice. Let’s fight the plight of journalists in Uganda who are receiving 50,000/- (about $15)  per month as salary. They are later widely criticized for not being professional.

Recently Uganda Journalists Association gave out food relief and called them “abamawulire abali obubi ennyo” (Journalists who are vulnerable). Almost calling them vulnerable poor!

Personally, I lost my first child, a beautiful girl to malaria because I could not afford 3500/- ($1) as medical fees. But at that time I was working with a big media organization here.

Let’s talk about poor pay in the newsrooms. #Pressfreedomday2020

John Ssemakula Post

The media in Uganda cannot effectively play an oversight role if it cannot first of all hold it’s self accountable. The journalists in the media houses cannot critic their own especially the media managers. Why should we then pretend that we can hold others accountable? Newsrooms also need democracy to function which doesn’t exist today. We can’t talk about our salaries lest we are ejected by our bosses. Journalists are herded around like goats. They have no say. I speak out experience because I have been there for over 10 years. Talk about the poor pay which is one of the hot topics in Uganda now. I can now confidently speak about it because I am out. But journalists inside grumble and grumble over poor pay and can’t even discuss it with their bosses. When they get tired of grumbling, they give up or leave the newsrooms in protest. Talk about the huge salary disparities. Someone gets sh40m and the other sh200,000. Hahahaha. It’s laughable considering the fact that we all go to the same markets and schools. Journalists in Uganda! I respect you. Okay fine, the problem is also political. If government wanted a more vibrant media to play the oversight role, this is posible. But who wants police at his neighbourhood if they are not upright? Little wonder that one of thrvgreat media authors argues that media systems in any country reflect the political system. That is, if journalists in a given country are corrupt, the politicians must also be corrupt. That said we still have the potential to make things better by fighting corruption in the media houses (sanitise the media) which includes appointments which are not based on merit, fair pay for journalists to retain talent and skilling among other thing. Happy Press Freedom Day colleagues.