World Press Freedom Day: Ugandan Journalists Decry Low Pay

WPF

“A night watchman earns a better pay than an average Ugandan journalist” laments Joshua Kyalimpa a Ugandan journalist and former President of Uganda Journalists Association.

As journalists mark World Press Freedom Day in Uganda, media practitioners there have used the day to decry the low pay they are receiving from their employers.

Joshua Kyalimpa is among those who turned up to mark World Press Freedom Day celebrations in the capital Kampala. He told our Correspondent Joseph Elunya that journalists in Uganda are exploited by their employers something which he says has contributed to low levels of professionalism.

“In Uganda a night watchman earns much more than a journalist because an average Ugandan journalist earns just about forty euros which is slightly below what a night watchman gets at the end of the month” explains Kyalimpa the former President of Uganda Journalist Association.

Kyalimpa cites The New Vision, Uganda’s leading Newspaper which pays its freelancers about 90 euros per month.

“A reliable freelancer from New Vision Newspaper files about 15 stories per month at the rate of 20,000 Uganda shillings which translates to 300,000 (90 euros) in a month” explains Kyalimpa who formerly worked with the Vision Group.

Kyalimpa says it worse for radio news reporters who are paid less than a euro per each story that is aired. He says the best paying radio-Radio One FM 90 pays its freelancers 5000 Uganda shillings (1.5 euros) per story while upcountry radio stations pay 2000 (less than a euro) per story that is approved for broadcast.

Kyalimpa says the challenge of low pay can be addressed once journalists form strong associations which are able to negotiate on their behalf for better pay.

According to Uganda Human Rights Commission-UHRC Commissioner Dr. Amoti Katebairirwe the commission has noted that Ugandan journalists face problems of poor pay, lack of protective gear and insurance.

Dr. Amoti also points out that low level of professionalism is contributing to irresponsible journalism in Uganda.

Juliet Naiga the Vice President of Uganda Journalists Association challenges journalists to first consider self-worthiness if they are to be taken seriously by employers.

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