This study describes Ugandan news media coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic and other public affairs topics, focusing mainly on five key publications and three television stations.
The study explores the attention these publications and television stations paid to the Covid-19 pandemic from 1 January to 31 December 2020, and the nature of coverage.
The publications studied are Bukedde (a Luganda-language daily), Daily Monitor, New Vision, The Observer, and The Independent newsmagazine. The television stations are NBS, NTV, and UBC.
The study mainly relies on quantitative content analysis to explore the volume of coverage of the pandemic and other public affairs issues by these selected media houses. The study also analyses the types of articles published (news, analysis, opinion, features, etc.), the reporting formats employed, the topics covered, and the tone of coverage.
The analysis further covers the voices in the coverage, including the occupation and gender of sources.
In addition to the quantitative content analysis, the study also relies on responses from key informant interviews with journalists and civil society actors to explain some of the findings.
This report aggregates the findings from our four quarterly reports of 2020 that we published earlier. The findings indicate that when Covid-19 broke out, journalists rose to the occasion by providing a significant volume of news and information related to the pandemic and giving it the prominence it deserved.
This was particularly the case in the first six months of the pandemic. The findings also indicate that there was a gradual decline in the volume and prominence of Covid-19 news as the country slowly came out of a lockdown and entered the 2020-2021 election season.
The study further shows that the weaknesses in Ugandan journalism highlighted in our quarterly reports such as lack of investigative reporting, over-reliance on official, male, yet singular sources and event-based reporting continued to persist
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