Govt hails NMG-U for coverage  of NAM and G77 conferences

From left to right: Nation Media Group (NMG-U) Managing Director Susan Nsibirwa, Government Chief Whip Hamson Obua and NMG-U Managing Editor Tabu Butagira interact at Monitor Publications Limited offices in Kampala, on February 21, 2024. PHOTO/DAVID LUBOWA

What you need to know:

  • Mr Obua praises NMG’s influential journalism and underscores the government’s commitment to partnership with the media.

Government Chief Whip Hamson Obua has applauded Nation Media Group- Uganda for its impactful, and constructive journalism that has on occasions influenced action by government. 
Mr Obua made the remarks during a courtesy visit to the NMG-U Managing Director, Ms Susan Nsibirwa, at the Monitor Publications Limited headquarters in Kampala yesterday. 

Government’s gesture was prompted by the comprehensive coverage by the group platforms during the January Non- Aligned Movement (NAM) and Group of 77 plus (G77+)China summits, the Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the CommonWealth (CSPOC), and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) conferences held in Kampala. 

“I am here on behalf of the NRM government to convey our deepest appreciation for the wide coverage that the Monitor Publications and the Nation Media Group-Uganda executed when we hosted the four international conferences in January,” Mr Obua said.
He pledged government’s commitment to continued partnership and respect for journalism and media operations. 

According to Mr Obua, the coverage was a demonstration of the spirit of patriotism and nationalism, highlighting the positive outcomes Uganda gained from hosting the events.  These included increased confidence in Uganda’s ability to host such conferences and the promotion of the country’s tourism potential, with delegates expressing interest in returning to further explore its beauty. 

Mr Obua said the NMG journalism is consumed by the government, including the President, and some stories are followed up to inform actions. 
 “When I was a State minister for Sports, he [President Museveni] called me after the Monitor carried a story about John Akibua. That tells you that he reads. He asked about the wife and the children, and indeed he met them. They expressed to him their challenges and their house had been taken and that they were thrown out. He committed to get them a title. That was a Daily Monitor story that gave rise to handing over of that title,” Mr Obua said.

“Apart from coming out about what would be conceived as negative, I have attended meetings where he [Mr Museveni] has appreciated Monitor,” he added.
He, however, using the allegory of a footballer who saves many goals and concedes one winner-goal, cautioned against mistakes, biased or non-factual reporting. 
Ms Nsibirwa commended the government for successfully organising the conferences.

She stressed the importance of a harmonious working relationship between the government and the media, emphasising the need to uphold the values and integrity of journalism without interference. 
 “Our mission is to create value for our stakeholders, like the government, and partnering with them in the work they do because this is our home. But not just that, but positively influencing society. When we see people impacted by stories in the Monitor, then yes, we are fulfilling our mandate,” Ms Nsibirwa said. 

Ms Nsibirwa, however, expressed concern on the “bad paper” perception held by some government entities and officials. 
She emphasised that Monitor remains committed to fulfilling its primary role as a media outlet and adhering to the principles outlined in its editorial policy, particularly emphasising accuracy in reporting.

She also urged the government to clear arrears owed to media houses, as well as other private institutions, adding that delay constrains the operations of private entities. 
According to the Auditor General report for the year ending June 2023, the government’s domestic arrears now amount to Shs10 trillion.