The African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) has set up a fund of Shs320 million to support Ugandan journalists seeking to do in-depth and investigative stories on transparency and accountability within the public sector.
Up to 150 journalists stand to benefit from the grant facility and a fellowship programme, which has been set up with support from the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF). Each successful story project, selected on a competitive basis, may be funded with up to Shs1.75 million.
ACME will periodically publish calls for journalists, backed by their newsrooms, to submit story projects for funding under either direct reporting grants or financial support as part of a six-month training fellowship. The opportunity to receive this support will be available to journalists until June 2016.
“The grant facility and fellowship programme will support Ugandan journalists to produce accurate and compelling in-depth and investigative journalism that informs and engages the public,” said ACME Executive Director Peter Mwesige.
The grant facility and fellowship programme form one of three parts of a partnership between DGF and ACME titled “Enhanced Media Reporting for Transparency & Accountability (EMERTA).”
The other two components of the partnership are: “Data journalism and evidence-based reporting” and “Expanding spaces to enhance knowledge and promote professional fellowship among journalists.” These components encompass non-monetary support to the Uganda journalism community and activities include data journalism training, establishment of an online resource centre, assembling of public databases that journalists can use for story projects, hosting of informal dialogues between journalists and public
decision makers, monthly film screenings, as well as convening of an annual lecture series on media and politics in Africa.
Speaking on the logic behind this ambitious media development project, Dr Mwesige said the three components are linked by their focus on improving the flow of, and access to, information on service delivery and public affairs.
He said the goal of the project is to enhance media oversight of governance through increasing the quantity and quality of in-depth public affairs reporting and investigative journalism that better informs and engages the public and ultimately increases transparency and accountability in Uganda.
Direct grants will go to story projects that cover any of the 12 thematic areas listed below
while the fellowship programme will support journalists interested in covering the first
three of them.
1. Local government
2. Parliamentary oversight
3. Oil, gas and mining
5. Land and property rights
6. Water and environment
8. Justice, law and order
9. Transport infrastructure and public works
11. Science and technology
Journalists seeking funding are expected to focus their story projects on the following issues,
among others, within the above sectors:
1. Public procurement processes and practices
2. Delivery of social services
3. Accountability mechanisms
4. Public administration
5. Implementation of regulations and operations of oversight institutions
6. Observance of legislation and constitutional rights
7. Respect for due process and the rule of law
8. Alternative development models especially at the grassroots
Procedures on how to apply for the grants and/or fellowship will be announced soon.