Uganda National Journalism Awards are back

African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) is pleased to announce the call for entries and nominations to the Uganda National Journalism Awards 2020.

The annual Uganda National Journalism Awards were launched seven years ago. They are aimed at improving the quality of journalism in Uganda by inspiring and recognising excellence in reporting that informs and empowers the public, increases the voices and spaces for information, and holds the powerful to account.

“This remains the most prestigious journalism awards scheme in the country,” says ACME Executive Director Peter G. Mwesige. “Winners are selected through a transparent and credible process at the centre of which is an independent panel of judges selected from current or former leaders in the fields of journalism, media and communication.”

Last year ACME didn’t hold the awards gala because of funding challenges.

“We have now secured funding from the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) to provide core support for the next three editions of the awards,” Dr Mwesige said.

ACME will continue to work on sustainable ways of funding the awards with support from a broader array of partners, including media houses, businesses, non-governmental organisations, and government agencies, he added.

“The most critical thing is to ensure that the rewarding process remains of the highest standards, free from interference by funders or other interests,” Dr Mwesige said.

The 2020 awards are open to all professional journalists working in print, television, radio and online news platforms in Uganda for stories published or broadcast between 1 January and 31 December 2019.

The objectives are to:

  • increase the quantity and quality of public affairs reporting and investigative journalism;
  • promote accurate, knowledgeable and enterprising investigative reporting in all media;
  • advance innovation in storytelling and news presentation;
  • motivate aspiring and young journalists to attain and uphold standards of excellence in their profession; and
  • increase the diversity of voices in media coverage and spaces within which journalists operate.

Awards categories

The Uganda National Journalism Awards 2020 will be given to the best reporting in 20 categories, namely:

1.      Agriculture reporting 11. Health reporting
2.      Arts reporting 12. Investigative reporting
3.      Breaking news reporting 13. Justice, law and order
4.      Business, economics and financial reporting 14. Local reporting
5.      Data journalism 15. National news reporting (Broadcast)
6.      Education 16. National news reporting (Print)
7.      Energy, oil, gas and mineral resources 17. News illustration
8.      Environment reporting 18. Photo and video journalism
9.      Explanatory reporting 19. Political reporting
10.  Feature writing 20. Sports

The judging process

An independent expert panel of 16 members will select winning entries based on accuracy, initiative, originality, clarity of interpretation, storytelling ability, public benefit/impact, audience engagement, innovation, and writing and creative flair.

The prize

Both the winner and first runner-up in each category will receive a substantial cash prize. Plaques and certificates will also be given. A separate prize for exceptional journalism shall also be awarded to a participant in UNJA who exhibits extensive knowledge of his or her reporting beat, provides evidence of growth over the period of assessment, consistently produces quality work, and is highly regarded by others in the profession. Winners will be celebrated at a grand gala to be held in Kampala in June 2020. Additionally, winning entries will be published online and in a booklet to be distributed by ACME.

How to participate

All submissions must have been published or broadcast in a Ugandan media outlet or a regional outlet with a substantial Ugandan audience during the 2019 calendar year. Web-based news organisations that follow a strict code of journalistic ethics and publish original reporting on a regular basis may also submit entries.

To submit an entry for the awards, visit the Eligibility Rules and Submission Guidelines page on this website.

Key dates for the Uganda National Journalism Awards 2020

  • Entries open: 16 March 2020
  • Entries close: 30 April 2020
  • Judging process: May 2020
  • Awards gala: June 2020

 Further information

For more information about the Uganda National Journalism Awards 2020, write to, subject: ‘UNJA 2020 inquiries’.

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