Creating Village Newsrooms
By Benard Kahwa, CEO and Co-founder Media 4 Community Empowerment
Access to quality media content and internet usage is one of Uganda’s impediments to social and economic transformation. Most decisions are primarily influenced by few elites who have privileged access to media. This deprives the remaining majority of the population from participating in the running of their country fully. Training of citizen journalists and the unprivileged groups in the importance of information, detecting fake news, creating and sharing information in rural areas by using smart phones, setting agendas in their local areas and using information to mobilize their communities to improve their lives is a great deal in transforming communities.
This training reignites civic responsibility among rural communities by providing relevant information in order to foster behavioural changes towards active participation in committed citizenship. From inception, M4CE founders who are journalists and communications specialists, have been fascinated by the fact that information can, in fact, be created independently and needs to be passed on responsibly. This kind of “knowledge” commonly called information needs to be counter-checked, validated and spread for betterment of society.
But what are the challenges Uganda faces as many people go online; not knowing how to utilize internet responsibly. Generally, these temptations tend to erode the authenticity and integrity of online media in Uganda. The training is a nip in the bud.
The challenges for western-style of information availability and internet access to take hold in Uganda are daunting. But through trainings we ignite information creation, searching and sharing in our own way, and ultimately transform society.