In a meeting held between Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) together with journalists on how to enhance partnerships, government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo reprimanded the media and politicians who doubt statistics presented by government agencies.
In an interview with RX Radio’s Olive Najjuma during The Fatboy Show, Opondo re-echoed the statements saying that UBOS is a body mandated with analyzing, disseminating and providing official national data and it takes expertise in gathering and presenting information to the public.
He added that, if one feels that the information provided is inaccurate, they should use the proper channels to discredit the information instead of coming up with their own statistics which the media also quotes.
“If you have any reason to doubt, you first cross check with them (UBOS), presenting what you have and to challenge what they have. You can challenge either the source, methodology or anything else you want to from their statistics. I didn't intend to say that they will get everything accurately but you can't just discount the information because they are the rightful authoritative source,” Opondo said.
“Not to say that government information shouldn't be challenged, no. You should challenge them to raise the bar and to demonstrate the credibility of their information,” he added.
During the UBOS engagement with journalists, it was pointed out that Journalists spread rumors and false information. Olive asked Opondo if this wasn't as a result of the communication gap between the media and government that makes journalists chase after statistical information from the sources in vain and the fact that it is sometimes unavailable.
“First of all there’s a lot of laxity among many journalists who don't go the extra mile and now they use the laissez faire of government officials as an excuse for doing a poor job or use something found on social media because a certain person is credible and run with the information without cross checking it,” Opondo responded.
He added that the credible information is not only held by government officials but also International Organizations, government documents and websites where it is always published and available for use.
However, he also recognized that in instances where the officials haven't been proactive, “and on that account the government needs to improve and we have said that many times. A number of government agencies have indeed improved. What I don’t agree with is, “We tried to call the person and they were unavailable’ and they use that as a way of running away with falsehoods,” said Opondo.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive and Sarah every weekday from 6am to 10am on RX Radio.