African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) has announced the winners of this year’s Uganda National Journalism Awards at a colourful gala held at Mestil Hotel in Kampala.
The awards, organised by ACME since 2014, celebrate and promote exceptional, in-depth and enterprising journalism that informs public debate and holds the powerful to account. They are open to all journalists working for media outlets in Uganda or regional media houses with wide circulation and significant audience reach in the country.
Across the media industry, 196 journalists participated in the awards, submitting 283 entries for the competition. About 30 per cent of participating journalists are women, and 40 per cent of entries were from journalists based outside Kampala.
A panel of 8 expert judges from academia, public communications and the media assessed each story based on reporting accuracy, writing, reporting rigour, analysis, ethics, relevance, packaging and enterprise.
This year, funding and support for the Uganda National Journalism Awards is provided by a range of corporate, public sector and civil society partners.
The awards sponsors include MTN Uganda, TotalEnergies EP Uganda, CIPESA, Stanbic Bank Uganda, and National Drug Authority. Others are National Social Security Fund, AgriFarm Uganda, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority, CivSource Africa, Centre for Policy Analysis, Nile Breweries, Centenary Bank, National Association of Broadcasters, Diamond Trust Bank, and Uganda Development Bank.
The following is a full list of winners of the Uganda National Journalism Awards 2022.
Business, Economy and finance reporting
Winner: Federick Dramadri, Radio Pacis: Illegal entry points fuel silent gold trade along Uganda-DRC border
2nd runner-up: Nelson Mandela Muhoozi, New Vision: Timber exports: Standards, splitting remain leading constraints
1st runner-up: Ismail Musa Ladu, Daily Monitor: Business, multinational companies dodging taxes (series)
The Environment Reporting award recognizes reporting that has the potential to make a significant contribution to public awareness and understanding of environmental issues.
Winner – Ronald Musoke, The Independent: Deforestation in Uganda (series)
1st runner-up – Gerald Tenywa, New Vision: Saving Uganda’s water-thirsty cities
2nd runners-up (tied in third place) – Alex Tumuhimbise, Daily Monitor: Illegal sand mining leaves human, aquatic lives at risk; Shamim Saad, New Vision: Rwenzori trans-border communities commercialising conservation
This award recognizes a single story or a series of stories told in a creative narrative style, using techniques such as character development, use of dialogue, visualization and sense of place.
The Features category attracted a large number of entries this year. While the judges were encouraged by this, they urge feature writers to hone their skills in narrative non-fiction, character development and content packaging in order to present audiences with interesting and captivating stories.
Winner: Road crashes kill more than Covid-19 – Zurah Nakabugo, The Observer
1st runner-up: Nakivubo channel: Where the good and bad meet – Richard Olwenyi and Joshua Mujunga, NBS Television
- Embracing the patches – Anthony Maina, Alex Sekitoleko and Moses Serugo, Framez and Wavez
- Martin Senkubuge finding the colourful side of vitiligo – Bamuturaki Musinguzi, Daily Monitor
This award goes to a journalist or journalists who cover sports with originality. It recognizes reporting that brings sporting occasions and events to life with creativity, and stories that tell the unreported concerns of the sports fraternity.
Winner: Musa Sabir, Radio Pacis – Lack of support: West Nile female footballers’ talent fading away
1st runner-up: Olivia Nakate, Urban TV – Athletics rebranding in Sebei region
- Abdul-Nasser Ssemugabi, Daily Monitor – The dilemma of a classless para-athlete
- Samuel Mpoza, NTV Uganda – The champions’ story
The Local Reporting Award recognizes the work of journalists based outside of Kampala who provide a clear understanding of events and issues of importance to their locality. It honors reporters who demonstrate excellence and versatility in covering local issues.
Winner: From captives to fighters for survival – by Arnest Tumwesige, New Vision
1st runner-up: Quarrels over rock delay road project – by John Unzima, New Vision
2nd runner-up: Dangerous profits: Why illegal ivory trade persists along Uganda-DRC border – by John Dibaba, Radio Pacis
This award recognises reporting of politics and power that informs and engages audiences.
Winner: Umaru Kashaka, New Vision – What it means to have the youngest cabinet
1st runer-up: Abdul-Nasser Ssemugabi, Daily Monitor – How boxers have been sucked into the ‘dirty game
2nd runner-up: Jill Ainebyoona, Bukedde – The war over an LC1 election reaches court
PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY REPORTING
This is a new reporting category in the Uganda National Journalism Awards. National and global events in 2020 and 2021 demonstrated that journalistic reporting of financial, political and social accountability mechanisms is of utmost importance in providing citizens with information to make decisions and hold those in power accountable. 16 entries were submitted for competition for the first public accountability reporting award – encouraging evidence that journalists are as interested as ordinary people in increasing transparency and accountability in governance.
Winner: Solomon Serwanjja and Rahim Nwali, NBS Television – Covid-19 money trail
1st runner-up: Ritah Kemigisa, NTV Uganda – Government prioritises VIP cars over citizen’s health
2nd runner-up: Cecilia Okoth, New Vision – Bribery hits Covid-19 vaccination
ENERGY AND EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRIES REPORTING
The energy and extractives reporting award are given to stories that enhance understanding of Uganda’s energy and natural resources sectors.
ACME’s first foray into journalism awards dates back to 2011, with a small but ambitious programme to reward the best reporting on oil, gas and mining in Uganda. ACME is encouraged that some journalists who took part in that first mini-awards competition still cover the beat and were so inspired by the recognition that they continue to deliver excellent reporting today.
Winner: Uganda’s first oil: What is at stake? – Cliff Abenaitwe and Megan S. Lee; published by InfoNile
1st runner-up: The sinking environment – by Canary Mugume, Jamlia Mulindwa and Godfrey Badebye; broadcast by NBS Television
2nd runner-up: Story series on mercury smuggling in Namayingo gold mines – by George Bita; published by New Vision
NATIONAL NEWS REPORTING (PRINT)
The National News Reporting Award is granted to stories that illuminate and explain issues of national concern through powerful explanation, sourcing, analysis and storytelling. Two awards are given in this category – one for broadcast and one for print and online stories.
2nd runner-up: Gerald Tenywa, New Vision – Story series on Uganda’s charcoal crisis
Winner: Gillian Nantume, Daily Monitor – Story series on November riots: The lives we lost
1st runner-up: Isaac Khisa, The Independent – Kasaija’s tax burden
NATIONAL NEWS REPORTING (BROADCAST)
The finalists in this category are:
Winner: Double jeopardy: The resilience of women in cross-border trade – Culton Scovia Nakamya, BBS Terefayina
1st runner-up: Children selling masks during lockdown – Cliff Wamala, NTV Uganda
2nd runner-up: Police fire bullets in operation against armed thugs in Masaka – Solomon Kaweesa, NTV Uganda
This category recognizes reporting that provides relevant context, background and analysis of the creative arts.
This is an important Award at a time and space dedicated to arts reporting in Uganda is on the decline, although the creative arts industry grows year-on-year. We encourage more journalists and media managers to interest themselves in covering the exciting and impactful work of creative artists throughout Uganda.
Winner – Outlawed animal parts spell death for Bwola dance – By Caroline Ayugi, Daily Monitor
1st runner-up – Weaving a new twist – By Anthony Maina, Alex Sekitoleko and Moses Serugo, Framez and Wavez
2nd runners-up (tied in third place)
- Drum makers decry competition – By Andrew Kaggwa, Daily Monitor
- MAMA Awards, music and money – By Daniel Lutaaya, NBS Television
The Education Reporting Award recognizes stories that make an exceptional contribution to public awareness and understanding of issues around education policy, research, learning outcomes, teaching practices, financing and innovation in Uganda.
Winner- Thomas Kitimbo and Daniel Lutaaya – Busoga University operating underground, students in distress; broadcast by NBS Television
1st runner-up –Irene Abalo Otto and Susan Mujjawa – My silent world; produced by Nation Media Group Uganda for NTV Uganda and Daily Monitor
2nd runner-up –John Masaba – Payroll fraud: How teachers get cheated; published by New Vision
This award recognizes the best agriculture writing or production on farming practice, agricultural policy, research and innovation, hunger, food and nutrition.
Winner –Story series on Why Ugandans are hungry – published in New Vision and authored by Joshua Kato
1st runner-up –Climate change: Food shortage hits Teso region – published in New Vision and authored by Betty Amamukirori
2nd runner-up –GMO research: Lack of law complicates it – published in The Independent and authored by Isaac Khisa
PUBLIC WORKS AND INFRASTRUCTURE REPORTING
This category, first introduced in 2020, celebrates distinguished journalistic reporting on Uganda’s public works sector.
The judges note that while a significant amount of public finance is set aside for the Works sector annually across all platforms, the number of stories on this beat is shockingly small. ACME’s own annual monitoring on the media’s coverage of public affairs issues also highlights the minimal reporting on the sector. The judges encourage journalists across Uganda to take an interest in this beat to provide audiences with critical information and understanding that informs civic participation in public debate on this important issue.
Winner: Works budget – by Paul Kayonga of NBS Television
1st runner-up – Will KCCA’s new infrastructure campaign solve the mess in the city? – By Ernest Jjingo of The Observer
PHOTO AND VIDEO JOURNALISM
This award is given to photojournalists or video journalists who display excellence and creativity in the visual presentation of a news story, feature or subject. This year, the category was undersubscribed, attracting only a handful of entry.
Of the small number of entries submitted, the judges concluded that only one entry merited an award. The award is given in recognition of the strong character identification and strong, striking visual storytelling to report on one of the most pressing concerns in the Great Lakes region.
Winner: Miriam Watsemba for the photo essay titled ‘Sinking land: Man and water collide as floods overtake landing site in Uganda’, published by InfoNile.
JUSTICE, LAW AND ORDER REPORTING
Judging of the Justice, law and Order Reporting Award is based on journalism that examines or illuminates one or a range of issues related to the court system, human rights and the rule of law, police and prisons.
The shortlisted entries in this category are:
Winner – The mess at LDC – by Canary Mugume, Godfrey Badebye and Swalik Swaleh, NBS Television
1st runner-up – Living with a bullet – by Sudhir Byaruhanga, NTV Uganda
2nd runner-up – The November 2020 riots – by Culton Scovia Nakamya, BBS Terefayina
The Health Reporting Award is given to distinguished reporting on a wide range of issues including public health, medical research, disease, health ethic and healthcare business. This category attracted more entries than any other category in the competition – a testament to the growing interest and excellence in health sciences reporting.
Winner – “I can’t breathe”- Daniel Lutaaya, NBS Television
1st runner-up –14,000 Ugandans miss medical care when one medical doctor dies – Betty Amamukirori, New Vision
2nd runner-up –Unsafe abortions robbing girls of motherhood – Agnes Kyotalengerire, New Vision
LAND AND PROPERTY REPORTING
The Land and Property Reporting category is new to the Uganda National Journalism Awards this year.
As a member of the International Land Coalition and the Uganda National Land Coalition, ACME is deeply invested in ensuring transparency and accountability in land governance through unhindered and timely access to information. Therefore, this category was introduced to encourage quality journalistic reporting on subjects such as secure tenure rights, equal land rights for women, sustainable land management, and land administration. First-rate and consistent reporting on land and property matters can contribute to informed public debate and decision-making and facilitate participation, accountability and the identification of locally appropriate solutions.
Winner –Edward Muhumuza, NTV Uganda – story series titled ‘Land is the answer’
1st runner-up –Victoria Bagaaya and Paul Kayonga, NBS Television – Ghost landlords
2nd runner-up –Esther Oluka, Daily Monitor – for the story series on Uganda’s land mess
This award recognizes excellence in reporting, based on one’s own initiative, scrutiny and investigation of matters of public importance.
Lives in the hands of quacks – by Benson Ongom, NBS Television
Defiled by my father: A quest for justice – by Solomon Serwanjja and Rahim Nwali, African Institute for Investigative Journalism
1st runner-up –Corruption in Administrator General’s Office exposed – by Richard Kayiira, Bukedde TV
2nd runner-up –How churched conned several firms of Shs17 billion – by Ritah Kemigisa, NTV Uganda
All Photos by Nicholas Bamulanzeki