It was a first for journalism in Uganda as the African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) hosted the inaugural Uganda National Journalism Awards.
The awards are to recognise and promote excellence in reporting and are intended to inspire a culture of quality and effective journalism.
Over 200 print and broadcast entries from 190 journalists were submitted for consideration. The gala event that was held on April 9, 2014 in the capital Kampala witnessed 13 journalists walk away with awards from the sixteen categories that were up for grabs. Forty-two journalists were shortlisted for the finals, and were commended for their efforts, but also challenged by the organisers to incorporate greater balance and depth into their reporting.
Hivos and ACME have been planning the event for the past year. Will Janssen, Hivos’ East Africa regional director, attended the event and called on the winners to continue striving to excel in their craft. “The winners should not find comfort in receiving the award, but go deeper to inspire their colleagues and mentor young and upcoming journalists who desire to achieve such excellence.”
In supporting these awards, Hivos believes that the free exchange of information, space for expression and opportunities for active citizen participation will stimulate the development of a democratic Ugandan society. With a country that has such a dynamic a vibrant media sector, although at times criticised for being polarising), the partnership with ACME is expected to give rise to a well-informed and engaged Ugandan citizenry.