By Carol Kasujja
EDITORS from various media houses have opposed the new fees Government put in place for journalists.
This was during a breakfast meeting at Serena Hotel on Thursday between editors from the media houses and the minister of information and National Guidance, Rose Namayanja.
“The new fee is in bad spirit and it seems the government is giving itself the mandate to legally control the media. We will not be able to expose corrupt officials in fear that our licenses will not be renewed,” said Chris Higenyi, from Top TV.
“We are poorly paid, where will we get the money to pay for the license, other professionals can afford to pay the fees because they are well paid,” said Juliet Nanyiga, the UJA Vice president.
During the discussion, the minister advised all editors to clean up the industry and make sure that all journalists have the qualifications to practice journalism.
Vision Group Editor-in-Chief Barbara Kaija (right) chats with Hon. Namayanja at the meeting. Photo by Tony Rujuta
“There are so many masqueraders who have invaded the profession and they are abusing it, the fee is not to gag journalists, but to know who is who in the media. If possible, media houses are going to submit their journalist’s names to the ministry.
She blamed UJA for failing to bring all journalists together. She noted that the failure for journalists to co-operate, it is the reason why they are poorly paid and harassed by police.
Meanwhile, the president of Uganda Journalist Association, Robert Kagolo, warned the Government that if they do not meet with UJA members next week, journalists will protest.
“The minister never invited us to dialogue when they were setting up these fees, so we are asking her and her ministry to remove the fee or we are going protest,” he said.
The minister promised to meet the editors again and communicate when the fees will be effective.