A total of 261 entries have been submitted for the second Uganda National Journalism Awards organised by the African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME). This is up from the 223 entries received in the first edition of the awards that were held in 2014.
“We are pleased that a lot more journalists submitted entries this year,” said Dr Peter G. Mwesige, ACME’s Executive Director.
“We hope there is a corresponding increase in the quality of submissions.”
The Uganda National Journalism Awards are the biggest journalism awards in Uganda. With core support from Dutch development organization Hivos, they are intended to improve the quality of journalism in Uganda by inspiring and recognizing reporting of public affairs.
For the 2015 awards three new reporting categories – photojournalism, data journalism and justice, law and order – were introduced to increase engagement in these areas and expand the competition space. What was previously a category on the oil and gas sector has been broadened to include reporting on energy, petroleum and mining. Additionally there was a push to obtain entries for the editorial cartooning category for which no submission were received last year.
A panel of 12 judges comprised of former leading editors, regional and international journalists, media educators and civil society actors has been convened to assess each entry. For the second year in a row the panel is chaired by Dr George Lugalambi, Media Capacity and Development Programme Officer at the National Governance Resource Institute. Previously Dr Lugalambi served as head of the mass communication department at Makerere University.
The judges are tasked with evaluating the submissions based on a range of criteria including, but not limited to, their originality, enterprise, analysis and depth, relevance, style and potential to improve transparency in governance and promote accountability in public policy and decision making.
Other judges on the panel are:
- Mrs Charlotte Kaweesa Ntulume – Lecturer, Makerere University Department of Journalism and Communication
- Mr David Ouma Balikowa – Independent communications specialist and consultant; former editor of Daily Monitor
- Mr Francis Onapito Ekomoloit – Corporate Affairs Manager, Nile Breweries
- Mr Henry Bongyereirwe – Documentary photographer; visual communications consultant
- Mr Joachim Buwembo – Author; media consultant; former editor of several Ugandan and regional papers;
- Ms Machrine Birungi – Acting head of programme at Radio Miraya, South Sudan
- Mr Malcolm Webb – Al Jazeera correspondent based in Uganda
- Mr Simon Kaheru – Director, SMS Media; Lead analyst, Media Analyst
- Ms Rose Mary Kemigisha – Senior human rights officer/editor, Uganda Human Rights Commission
- Ms Teresa Nannozi – Journalism trainer; business and financial communications consultant
- Mr Wairagala Wakabi – Research Associate, Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa
The panel will announce the awards short-list at the beginning of March.
Winners and runners up of the Uganda National Journalism Awards 2015 will receive a substantial cash prize and a commemorative plaque at a grand awards gala to be held in early April.