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The workshop organised by the Uganda Media Development Foundation (UMDF) and KAS involved 28 journalists from the south-western districts of Mbarara, Bushenyi, Ntungamo, Isingiro and Ibanda. Regional Police Commander, Mr. Al Farouk Muyirima who officiated at the closure commended the training of journalists on human rights and noted that human rights observance was also a challenge to the Police.
Mr. Muyirima cited increasing cases of domestic violence and child abuse as some of the rights related challenges to the Police Force. He also mentioned that the force lacks adequate capacity in terms of training and equipment to handle all human rights abuses. To this, Mr. Muyirima argued the media to always highlight existing gaps within the police as a way promoting capacity building for the force.
The training, which was the third in series, involved journalists from both the print and electronic media under the umbrella of Ankole Media Club, which is one of the Regional Journalists Associations that partner with UMDF in undertaking the training activities supported by KAS. This particular workshop was facilitated by Mr Gawaya Tegulle, one of Uganda’s renowned and experienced journalists.
Mbarara Chief Magistrate, Mr. Isaac Muwata officiated at the opening and reminded journalists about the centrality of human rights issues to a democracy and argued that the media plays a central role in promoting human rights. Mr. Muwata encouraged the media to play a monitoring role in the observance of human rights as part of its broader watchdog role. He added that more often than not, many rights holders were ignorant of their rights, and therefore highlighted the critical role of the media in educating citizens about their rights. The Chief Magistrate emphasised that for the media should set the benchmarks for best practice through informing, educating and critiquing. This according to him calls for media personnel to be well-informed about human rights issues. He challenged journalists to seek as much information as possible regarding human rights issues by reading both national and international human rights instruments.
The UMDF National Coordinator, Mr. J.B. Mayiga, informed participants that UMDF and KAS have always treasured improving the skills of journalists in covering processes that impact democratisation. He argued that the choice of human rights as a theme was based on the relevance of both awareness and observance of human rights issues, given Uganda’s democratisation challenges, and the significance of the media in enabling human rights protection and observance through its role as a provider of strategic information to society. The facilitator, Mr. Tegulle urged participants to master the provisions for human rights instruments like the Ugandan Bill of Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UHDR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as well as the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights (ICESCR).
Mr Yusuf Kiranda, the Programme Officer at KAS Uganda Office informed participants that one of the core areas of KAS worldwide was human rights and good governance, and therefore argued that the theme of the training was in line with KAS’ core values. He emphasised the importance of the media in exposing human rights violations. He argued that the media is looked to as the agent and means through which citizens learn about human rights violations and therefore argued them to internalise and effectively play this role.