Journalists accused of taking bribes
Posted Wednesday, January 9 2013 at 02:00
Media practitioners warned against using politicians for their own gains.
Journalists in Lango Sub-region have come under criticism for allegedly accepting bribes from politicians and government officials.
This was revealed during a media dialogue attended by representatives from the President’s office, security personnel and journalists in Lira District on Monday.
“How do you know that the information that comes to your desk is not biased or corrupted?” the senior presidential advisor for Lango, Mr Franco Ojur, asked.
However, Mr Robert Kalibongo, an editor with Radio Lira, said government officials in the region sometimes deny them access to information forcing them to access them using other means.
“Some presidential appointees wait for ‘fire’ to breakout and they (just) come in to put it off. All the politicians in this region know propaganda,” Mr Kalibongo said.
The Oyam LC5 chairperson, Mr Charles Okello Engola, said many journalists in northern Uganda depend on politicians and government officials to make ends meet.
“I use the media to reach out to the people but they (media) use me to get money,” he said.
Oyam South former MP Isa Otto said the region’s two-decade insurgency had created a culture of dependency which politicians take advantage of to bribe journalists.
Mr Otto said often compromised journalists and presenters call a radio station to defend a politician, especially during popular talk shows.
The executive director of the Facilitation for Peace and Development, a civil society organisation, Mr Jonathan Odur, said journalists are not free to play their watchdog roles without interference from State actors.
“There is a lot of intimidation from security and government. Whenever journalists here (Lango) report on some sensitive peace issues or talk shows, they are harassed,” Mr Odur said.
The North Kyoga regional police commander, Mr Richard Aruk Maruk, however, said their relationship with the media had improved.