The title “Journalist” here in Uganda has always been for those few people who go to a higher institution of learning and pursue a Bachelor’s Degree and perhaps a Master’s and for that reason it has always been a profession.
Today looks like it is not a profession no more. But rather a talent! Many people in civil societies in Uganda have learnt not to trust the professional journalist because most of them are money minded. And those who are not cannot reflect the public opinions in the media because the media is regulated by the policy makers and stake holders in their own opinions.
With the growth of information societies, communities are seeking to have their voices heard and their opinions attended to. This has lead to the creation of Citizen Journalists. With support from local organizations like Women of Uganda Network and international organization like European Union, Hivos, SangoNet
, e.t.c, many Ugandans and people from other African countries have been introduced to citizen journalism, taught how to use the different tool and web applications to gather, write and publish articles both on the web and in other media.
Their voices have not yet been heard by the wider communities in Uganda or even in Africa because of the issues of connectivity and the digital divide. However, as ICTs continue to find their way in to country, people picking more interest in the independent citizen journalism media.
Other people are participating on discussion groups for example the D-Groups, mailing lists and forum and all these are aimed at raising people’s voices to the wider community. Many policy makers and stakeholders have subscribed themselves to some of these discussion forums/ groups. However most of the participants on these platforms are focusing on issues to do with internet governance and ICTs in particular.
I have also noticed that some of the writers in the local papers are adding links to their blogs at the bottom of their articles.
For details about Citizen Journalism in Africa and articles by citizen journalism from Uganda, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia see the following portal.