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In Uganda, Media Struggle to Report Safely, and Freelancers are Overlooked

April 6, 2020

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Journalist Esther Nakkazi wrote on her blog in late March, “Who safeguards journalists against the coronavirus pandemic?”

With extensive experience reporting on health and science, and as co-founder and president of The Health Journalists Network in Uganda, Esther was hearing numerous concerns from journalists and freelancers in her network, who were given no protective gear as they worked to gather COVID-19 updates. She was personally shaken by the fact that the first death in Zimbabwe from the virus was a journalist.

“Now the situation is even worse,” she told Internews. Uganda’s president had announced a stay-at-home order, and although media can be exempted for reporting, their identification relies on company-branded cars – not an option for freelancers.

“Internet is pricey. I am not sure how we shall complete this COVID-19 era. Freelancers especially have the uphill task of covering these stories.”

Esther expanded on these concerns in an interview with Internews:

“We owe the public accurate and timely updates about the pandemic,” says Esther. “Journalists need support to be able to work safely.”

The pandemic crisis is also an information crisis, and journalists are the first responders. In an emergency, information saves lives. Please help those on the information front line.

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(Banner photo: Image by Charles Nambasi from Pixabay)