Uganda has announced that journalists without a university degree will be barred from covering parliamentary proceedings, in a move meant to improve the quality of reporting.
The Parliamentary Commission communicated the directive to the country’s media houses in a letter, which stipulates that only media practitioners who graduated in journalism, mass communication or a related field will be accredited to cover the 10th Parliament.
The letter reads: “…taking into consideration the need for a complete, fair, accurate and balanced coverage of Parliament and its committees, Journalists who cover Parliament must meet certain minimum requirements,”
“Journalist(s) designated by the media house to cover Parliament is required to demonstrate that he/she has a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, Communication or related fields and has practiced Journalism for at least 3 years”.
The letter also notes that Parliament reserves the right to grant or withdraw accreditation from journalists.
Journalists in Uganda have often been accused of unprofessional practices, and the move is premised on the need to remedy such perceived professional and ethical shortcomings. While the development has its merits, it is likely to ruffle feathers as it could affect journalists without degrees but have many years of experience.
The directive has already ignited debate on various online platforms, with some users saying the move is unfair and discriminatory and should be reviewed.
Source: New Vision