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Journalists urged to read and understand sustainable development goals

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Members of the fourth estate have been called upon to read and understand the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since this is the only way they will effectively and objectively report on them.

The SDGs include; zero tolerance to poverty; zero hunger; good health and well-being; quality education; gender equality; clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation, and infrastructure; reduced inequalities; sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; climate action; life below water; life on land; peace, justice, and strong institutions; and partnerships for the goals.

These emphasize the interconnected environmental, social, and economic aspects of sustainable development by putting sustainability at their center.

During the two days Youth Festival for SDGs held in Kampala, gender experts in the media industry said journalists have a main told to play if they are to report well about this huge sector.

Ms Joanitah Nankya a Gender specialist from the Uganda Media Women’s Association (UMWA) said that by understanding the SDGs with a critical mind, journalists will be able to disseminate the right and credible information to the public.

“All SDGs have indicators that need to first be understood, it’s a mandate to you communicators to deeply research and understand them, then after giving a clear reporting on each of these indicators” she highlighted.

“Since all indicators have a common goal of ensuring an end to something, the media should also ensure this contribution by writing or publishing stories that aim to elaborate these indicators” she added.

Under the theme “Media’s contribution to the presentation of SDG 5, “Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls” UMWA hosted a panel of communications experts to highlight how media can best address the Progress, Challenges, and Opportunities towards this goal.

Although more work is still needed to be done, UMWA according to Nankya has since done great work towards achieving this goal and as per the 2020 research, females now dominate in areas of Gender Based Violence, parenting, and fashion.

In her submission, Carol Beyanga a media trainer and specialist challenged media houses to have more women in their senior management positions as this will also help to promote SDG 5 in the field of media.

Carol further noted that although the media has tried to give coverage on SDGs lately, more needs to be done to attract the media to give more information to the public on what SDGs are and also inform on how Uganda stands in achieving them.

Carol also added that the public should also understand that media as per the SDGs has no mandate to do many things but rather create awareness, sensitize, and educate.

On this panel, Patricia Akankwatsa a journalist from The Independent called upon the Uganda Communications Commission to strengthen their regulations to mostly digital platforms as this will also help to

According to Patricia, many online platforms publish stories that instead promote gender-based violence, and at the end of the day, they go away with it, which doesn’t portray a good picture of journalism as an institution.

This two-day event involved several activities like exhibitions, a walk, and several entertainments that gave participants room for connections and learning.

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