Focus on corporate bullies, MUK law don advises media

Thursday, 22 March 2018 - 12:31pm

Mabazira said some of the corporations have the financial muscle to suffocate the media by, for example, denying them adverts.

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PIC: The media have been challenged to report human rights issues regardless of the corporate companies that may bully them


KAMPALA - The media in Uganda have been urged to prioritise coverage of human rights abuses by corporations.

Prof. Christopher Mbazira, the principal of Makerere University school of law noted that as the traditional state disappears and corporations emerge, human rights abuses that need serious media attention tend to increase.

He observed, however, that one of the main challenges the media face is in dealing with corporations whose budgets are bigger than government’s.

Mabazira said some of the corporations have the financial muscle to suffocate the media by, for example, denying them adverts.

He cited the human rights abuses committed by corporations, including environmental degradation, land evictions and pollution.

Mbazira made the remarks on Wednesday during a one-day media training organised by Uganda Consortium Corporate Accountability (UCCA).

The consortium has several partners, including Public Interest Law Clinic (PILAC), and the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights (ISER).

The training on pursuing corporate accountability was held in Kampala. Mbazira also noted that to successfully report on corporate rights abuses, the media must follow three steps - establishing abuses, linking them to corporations and identifying victims.

He urged the media practitioners to ensure that victims are protected such that they are not targeted by the perpetrators after the stories have been published.

Mbazira’s presentation was hinged on the theme, Access to Remedy Mechanisms for Corporate Abuses: The role of the Media.
He said the media can survey different forms of remedies available for the victims, including judicial and non-judicial such as religious leaders.

In his remarks, Robert Ssempala, the co-ordinator of Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda), urged media organisations to stand their ground and expose advertisers, who perpetrate rights abuses.

“There is need to strike a balance between good reporting and generating advertising revenue,” Ssempala said. “We must stand to be counted in this fight.”

In the same vein, Anold Kwesiga, a human rights lawyer urged the media managers to develop media programmes that reflect human rights protection. 

Kwesiga said issues of human rights violations are newsworthy.

“The media should, therefore, pursue human rights abuses to their logical conclusions,” he said.