Behavioral Change Communicationist Jack Peter Sseruwo has blamed the current unprofessional behavior demonstrated by entertainment journalists to the deviation from practising professional journalism exhibited in media houses.
He made the remarks while commenting on a situation where three NXT Media entertainment journalists Isaac Kawalya alias Kays, Bryan Kennedy Waako and Williams Makuliro, were arrested and jailed on charges of offensive communication and defamation of singer Omulangira Ssuuna.
While appearing on RX Radio’s ‘The Brunch Talk’, Sseruwo stated that most Ugandan media houses are profit-based, creating room for unprofessional behaviour of journalists as long as their content attracts large audiences.
“Though there’s a lot of unprofessional journalism, I wouldn’t blame it on the journalists themselves. Media houses have decided to pick an agenda which they think the public is interested in and tend to ignore the core values of providing educative, truthful information. When a journalist gets arrested and charged under the law, it signals the lack of accountability at the station and yet like in any other profession, there has to be an ethical code of conduct that must be respected.”
Olive, the host of the show, questioned why the presenters are left to battle the charges alone yet they work as a team at television stations. Sseruwo responded, saying “Omulangira Ssuna probably might have not been aware of the chain behind the show and in his search for justice, he held the presenters who spoke negatively about him solely accountable. More so, NXT Media did not engage in the case because professionally, they too know that what happened was wrong.”
He added, “In behavioral change communication, what Omulangira Ssuna did is to catalyse change so as to remind the media to reflect on itself, the information it gathers and how it is disseminated to the public.”
According to Seruwo, veterans in the media industry are supposed to mentor and groom young journalists instead of allowing them self-structure. However, he also noted that the establishment of media houses by non-journalists is the reason for creating mediocre journalists who then try to survive in the industry by using their own creativity.
Brunch Talk is hosted by Olive Najjuma Monica every Saturday from Midday to 1pm on RX Radio.