Ugandan journalists heralded for excellent biotechnology reporting

The first-ever Ugandan awards ceremony to recognise journalists for outstanding reporting of biotechnology and biosafety was held in Kampala on Friday last week. The awards, organized by the Uganda Biosciences Information Centre, celebrated journalists who produced agenda-shaping news and information on the application and regulation of modern biotechnology and research.

During the ceremony Mr Okasai Opolot, Director of Crop Resources in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, said journalists play an important role in guiding policy makers in regulating biosciences and are critical in informing debate that will turn the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill into law. He commended the media for its commitment to agriculture reporting, but called for more consistent and factual reporting, as well as training and funding to ensure that journalists across Uganda are equipped to do their work.

A total of 27 entries were submitted for competition. The winners were:

  • Best newspaper report – Edward Sserinya, Bukedde
  • Best television report – Ambrose Muhumuza, NBS Television
  • Best radio report – Joshua Mutale, Radio Simba
  • Best online report – Henry Lutaaya, The Sunrise

Dr Charles Wendo, who chaired the panel that assessed the entries, said the quality and number of submissions received were a good indicator of the commitment of journalists in creating awareness about relevance of products and regulation of biotechnology.

Delivering a keynote address on ‘Improving Science Communication in the Media’, the Executive Editor of Daily Monitor, Mr Charles Odoobo Bichachi, urged journalists to carry out extensive research before reporting about developments in sciences or agriculture.

“When you write, write the complete picture including answers to the anticipated questions that readers will be asking,” Mr Bichachi said.

The Uganda Biosciences Information Center organised the maiden awards in collaboration with Program for Biosafety Systems, Uganda Biotechnology and Biosafety Consortium, WEMA Project Uganda, and Science Foundation for Livelihood and Development.

Full list of winners

Print

Best Reporting – Edward Sserinya Bukedde newspaper
Runner up – Michael J. Ssali Daily Monitor
Good reporting
Christopher Bendana New Vision
David Mwesigye Gumisiriza Daily Monitor
Paul Tajuba Daily Monitor
Lominda Afedraru Daily Monitor
Ronald Kalyango Agribusiness Digest magazine
Samuel Nabwiso East African Business Week

Television         

Best reporting – Ambrose Muhumuza NBS TV
Runner-up – David Kayongo BBS TV
Good reporting
Adiah Nakuti UBC TV
Ronald Kato Urban TV
Samson Kasumba Urban TV/NBS TV
Jonathan Lule Bulega Bukedde TV

Radio   

Best reporting – Joshua Mutale Radio Simba
Runner-up – Sarah Natoolo UBC Radio
Good reporting
Richard Katami Bwayo UBC Radio
Sarah Mawerere UBC Radio
Edward Sserinya Bukedde FM
Younus Ntale CBS Radio

Online

Best reporting – Henry Lutaaya Sunrise

Special recognition awards

Moses Mugalu The Observer
Felix Basiime Daily Monitor
Deo Okoodi NTV Uganda
Christine Lanyero UBC Radio
Felix Warom Okello West Nile Press

Photo credit: UBIC. Award winners pose with Director General NARO—Dr Ambrose Agona (center), Director Crop Resources, MAAIF—Mr. Opolot (2nd center on the left) and some of the invited guests.

 

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