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
|Best Reporting – Edward Sserinya||Bukedde newspaper|
|Runner up – Michael J. Ssali||Daily Monitor|
|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|
|Best reporting – Ambrose Muhumuza||NBS TV|
|Runner-up – David Kayongo||BBS TV|
|Adiah Nakuti||UBC TV|
|Ronald Kato||Urban TV|
|Samson Kasumba||Urban TV/NBS TV|
|Jonathan Lule Bulega||Bukedde TV|
|Best reporting – Joshua Mutale||Radio Simba|
|Runner-up – Sarah Natoolo||UBC Radio|
|Richard Katami Bwayo||UBC Radio|
|Sarah Mawerere||UBC Radio|
|Edward Sserinya||Bukedde FM|
|Younus Ntale||CBS Radio|
|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.