Media Appeals To Governments To Open Up

By Vision Reporter

Added 19th August 2001 03:00 AM

JOURNALISTS have asked governments to open up by aggressively marketing their policies and presenting truthful information.

By John Odyek JOURNALISTS have asked governments to open up by aggressively marketing their policies and presenting truthful information. Media representatives were yesterday reacting to questions raised by heads of state attending the SMART Partnership dialogue at Speke Resort Munyonyo. Bill Maclean of Reuters, said the presidents should brief the press more and interact with them more frequently. “It (interaction) is not much in this region. Presidents should recruit professional press officers who are high flyers and motivated to provide information quickly,” Maclean said. Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, asked the journalists what all the presidents can do for a good co-existence between the governments and the press and for good service to the public. He said media reports were sensitive and should be handled responsibly. Journalists suggested that the presidents contribute more to their training, have more friendly relationships and see them not as “second class citizens but as partners in development.” They said, for example, that the press had been barred from attending meetings during the Smart Partnership dialogue. The Prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, urged journalists to report the truth and say more positive things about their countries. He blamed the western press for emphasising negative stories about developing countries and Africa. John Nagenda, the Presidential Advisor on Media and Public Relations blamed some local journalists for not doing their work well and said he was disappointed by the foreign press because they report hearsay. The New Vision’s acting Corporation secretary, Robert Kabushenga, said the media in Uganda was in its infancy and needed the support and understanding of government for it to grow. President Yoweri Museveni said he would like to see more balanced reporting. He said the front pages of the newspapers should have two parts. One part reporting the negative and the other the positive. Mkapa asked whether the training journalists receive was enough to undertake balanced reporting. He also queried whether training in economic journalism was sufficient for business reporters. The journalist said the readers and their audience were intelligent and could tell what was positive news and negative news. They said they were sensitive to the needs and issues of society and were governed by laws like libel and ethics. James Tumusiime, Fountain Publishers’ managing director, said the best way for government to work with the media was to work proactively and by marketing their policies and programmes aggressively instead of the media doing the research for them. The media said they cannot take all the blame for the negative reports because some politicians contribute to them as well. Ends

Media Appeals To Governments To Open Up

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