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Parliament Engages Editors to Tame Errant Journalists

The move follows a warning to journalists, issued by the Department of Communications and Public Affairs CPA against organizing meetings of any kind on behalf of Members of Parliament. According to Chris Obore, the Director of Communications at Parliament, journalists are overstepping their boundaries by involving themselves in tasks that are a preserve of Parliament staff.
A press conference at Parliament convened by Parliament press

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Parliament is engaging editors from different media houses to reign over journalists who have abandoned ethical guidelines and usurped the mandate of its communications office.

The move follows a warning to journalists, issued by the Department of Communications and Public Affairs (CPA) against organizing meetings of any kind on behalf of Members of Parliament. According to Chris Obore, the Director of Communications at Parliament, journalists are overstepping their boundaries by involving themselves in tasks that are a preserve of Parliament staff.

The Communication and Public Affairs Department of Parliament is mandated to foster the good corporate image of Parliament, disseminate accurate information and educate the public on the operations and functions of Parliament.

The department is also tasked with enhancing the public awareness and understanding of Parliament by facilitating the daily media coverage of Parliament's plenary sitting and committee meetings and managing the interface between the Parliament of Uganda and other Parliaments.

But Obore says that Journalists who are accredited to cover parliament had taken over some of the tasks.  He added that Parliament would be forced to withdraw accreditation of journalists whose activities are not aligned to their obligation.

However, just a few days after the warning, two journalists were mobilizing colleagues for press conferences to be addressed by Kitgum Municipality MP Beatrice Anywar and the Parliamentary Forum on Disaster Risk Management chaired by Alex Byarugaba.

Obore says they are taking the matter to the editors and media houses to discuss the ethical challenges involved. Obore says as a department, their relations with the journalists start first with the media houses and that parliament will not allow journalists to misrepresent the interests of their establishments.

 

//Cue in: "But we have…

Cue out:…the MP himself"//

 

According to Obore, although their concern is mainly on the ethical challenges, a big problem has manifested when journalists organize events at Parliament without the knowledge of CPA, resulting intro a clash for the venues.

 

 Obore says ethically, journalists cannot hold MPs accountable.

 

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Earlier on, Isaac Imaka, the Uganda Parliamentary Press Association (UPPA) president, said Parliament should address the inconsistency with MPs. He says sometimes a journalist who wants information can take the opportunity of convening a press conference as quickly as they can, without waiting for the protocol procedure.

 

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