Accuracy is paramount
Posted Monday, February 11 2013 at 02:00
For the last two months, I’ve been having an email discussion with a reader who wants to understand the process of producing this newspaper. He is particularly keen on knowing more about our story choices, angling and placement on different pages. This reader is resilient, critical and gives brilliant insights to help us improve. He is one of those people I like to call genuine friends of Monitor Publications.
Not all correspondences, however, go smoothly. Some readers have their own perceptions about this newspaper, which we may disagree with but respect all the same. As we seek to promote transparency and a continued conversation with readers about, say, our story choices, we always defend our decisions when we know we’re right and eat humble pie when we breach core journalism tenets.
I have disagreed with some readers on a number of issues. One such involved a “Letter to the Editor” in which the reader made grave allegations against a company that, if we published, would have serious legal implications for this publication. The letter, for instance, accuses the company in question of grabbing the complainant’s land five years before the said company came to Uganda. When I called this reader for clarification, he insisted that his letter must be published in that form to “expose those people”.
While we are happy to expose wrongdoers, we cannot be used to tarnish the image of companies and individuals using baseless accusations. Readers should appreciate that all sections of this newspaper must carry factual information as proof.
We are open to critical views but malicious letters that accuse companies or individuals without backing evidence do not deserve space, precisely because they add no value to informed debate. Let’s all strive to be fair, honest and informative. Most importantly, let’s keep this conversation going, even if we disagree on some issues. As a social institution, our role is to offer a platform for news, debates and critical but responsible viewpoints.
Our policy is clear: We encourage objective and constructive criticism of any group or person, action or policy where such criticism is considered to be well founded, based on a full and accurate assessment of the factual realities, and offered in the interests of the public.
Ms Vuchiri is the Public Affairs Editor.
Twitter: @MVuchiri and @DailyMonitor