Two of the journalists, one of them an occasional freelance writer for the New Vision, were arrested a week ago for allegedly trying to extort money from a top ministry of works official. Others were arrested this week for allegedly attempting to extort money from a top manager of the National Water and Sewerage Corporation.
The arrests are embarrassing to all bona fide journalists, but are a good development. The four suspects should expeditiously face prosecution, and if found guilty of the alleged offences, should be duly punished. Such conduct, if true, is unacceptable.
Journalism has faced a number of challenges over the past few years. The challenges have included quacks that have infiltrated the profession and engaged in unethical conduct for financial gain. In response to these challenges, the New Vision early this year took deliberate steps to protect the integrity of the profession by enforcing the universally recognised professional code of conduct.
The New Visionâ€™s long-established values emphasise honesty, openness, integrity and zero-tolerance to corruption.
The media as an institution is a public watchdog and is expected, among other things, to expose the evils in society. The media cannot effectively play this role if journalists themselves are not above board.
While the majority of Ugandaâ€™s journalists carry out their work in a professional manner, it is no secret that there are a few rotten elements in the profession who are tainting the image of the noble profession. These elements must be identified and purged out of the profession.
Journalistic integrity must be protected