The African Centre for Media Excellence was established in 2009 and was formally registered and incorporated in August that year as a company limited by guarantee and not having a share capital (a non-profit organisation). Following the enactment of the Non-Governmental Organisations Act, and the NGO Regulations in 2017, it was resolved by the members that ACME would be registered with the National Bureau of Non-Governmental Organisations as an “indigenous organization”.
Strategically, ACME occupies the space between the media industry and academic institutions that train journalists. The centre is committed to excellence in journalism and mass communication in Africa, starting at home in Uganda. Our main goal is to make the media a more effective platform for the provision of information on public affairs, a tool for monitoring official power, and a forum for vibrant public debate.
The centre is the result of informal discussions between Mr Peter Mwesige (PhD) and Mr Bernard Tabaire that started in 2005 when they both worked in senior editorial positions at the Daily Monitor while at the same time co-teaching on a journalism course at Makerere University. They envisaged a media development organisation that delivers quick turn around time without compromising quality in mid-career training for journalists, media literacy training for the broader population, media research, media monitoring, and freedom of expression advocacy.
ACME directly employs about a dozen staff and works with a growing network of external trainers and researchers. It is governed by a general meeting made up of subscribers as the highest body, a board of directors as the policy-making organ, and a management team that carries out day-to-day activities of the centre.
ACME’s overall strategic objective is to contribute to the development of Africa through supporting vibrant, free and skilled media that inform and engage communities that in turn hold power to account.
Although most of our work has been in Uganda, ACME has worked in Ghana, Kenya, South Sudan, and Tanzania and trained journalists from about 10 other African countries. Our training and advocacy partners across the continent over the years have included Article 19, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Freedom House, Institute for the Advancement of Journalism, Internews, Journalists Environmental Association of Tanzania (JET), Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Natural Resource Governance Institute, PensPlusBytes, and Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Our current and past funders have included the following:
- British High Commission in Kampala
- Canada Fund for Local Initiatives
- Collaboration on International ICT Policy for Eastern and Southern Africa (CIPESA)
- Deepening Democracy (Uganda)
- Democratic Governance Facility (Uganda)
- European Union Delegation to Uganda
- Freedom House
- Fojo Media Institute
- Ford Foundation (Eastern Africa)
- Fund for Global Human Rights
- MacArthur Foundation
- National Endowment for Democracy (NED)
- Natural Resource Governance Institute (formerly Revenue Watch Institute)
- Norwegian People’s Aid—South Sudan
- Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa (OSIEA)
- Parliament of Uganda
- Population Reference Bureau
- Thomson Reuters Foundation
- Westminster Foundation for Democracy
The strategic objectives for the period 2022-2026 include the following:
- Contribute to an increase in media quality through inspiring and supporting African journalists to seek and achieve professional excellence
- Contribute to improving the environment in which African media operate through advocating and promoting the right to media freedoms and freedom of expression
- Promote media literacy through supporting the public and civil society to become critical and responsible users and producers of media and information
- Establish an integrated marketing communication culture at ACME
- Achieve financial sustainability through strengthening business and fundraising initiatives
- Strengthen human resources and institutional structures and processes