UMDF Police-Media Dialogue held in Kampala - Foundation Office Uganda and South Sudan
UMDF Police-Media Dialogue held in Kampala
Police and Media Express Commitment to Improving their Professional Relationship
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Representatives of the media and the police have expressed their mutual interest in an improved professional relationship at a breakfast dialogue organized by UMDF with support from KAS. Both sides welcomed the opportunity and used the platform provided for an exchange of views and perceptions and suggestions for the way forward.
With support from Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, the Uganda Media Development Foundation (UMDF) organised a breakfast dialogue focusing on issues concerning the relationship of the police and the media with the aim of providing a platform for forward-looking discussions among the two actors.
The dialogue brought together about 30 participants including representatives of the police, media practitioners and journalists. They were challenged by the KAS Project Officer, Mathias Kamp, in his welcoming remarks, to identify possible areas of constructive interaction. He emphasized that since the two actors provide two very important public goods - security and information - there is need for both actors to overcome existing tensions and diverging interests in order to complement each other in fulfilling their crucial roles in a democratic society.
The discussion was led by a panel consisting of Mathias Mulumba (UMDF Ag. National Co-ordinator), Betty Dindi (NTV News Manager) and Asan Kasingye (Assistant Inspector General of the Police) and was moderated by Tom Gawaya Tegulle (Journalist and Media Consultant).
To encourage the dialogue Mrs. Dindi gave a short overview on the “Media’s Perspective on their Relations with the Police” followed by Mr. Kasingye’s presentation of focusing on the Police’s experience related to cooperation with the Media. Their contributions included issues central for the debate such as:
•stereotypes of police including corruption, human rights abuses, lack of education etc. ;
•stereotypes of journalists including biased information or disrespect for police spokespeople and representatives etc.;
•difficulties the media face in accessing information from the police
•problems the police face due to biased reports provided by the press;
•expectations of both parties concerning future cooperation
•mutual advice on how to improve the flow of information between the two parties.
A debate emerged with contributions from guests including Police PROs and representatives of media organizations such as the Independent Media Council and the Human Rights Network for Journalists among many others. It was a free dialogue during which participants openly shared and discussed on the relationship between the police and media in Uganda. Criticism was expressed on both sides, focusing particularly on the bad image of the Ugandan police on the one hand, and examples of irresponsible and unprofessional journalism on the other hand.
Representatives of both police and the media agreed that the main issue is to be able to freely and openly share information while respecting the interests of both parties. This should be fostered through a continuous exchange on how the police and the media perceive each other in terms of their roles, responsibilities and actions and a focused dialogue on how to improve the interaction..
Both actors demonstrated their willingness for an ongoing dialogue and urged KAS and UMDF to further support similar activities.