Government through the Ministry of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and National Guidance (NG) led by Cabinet Minister Judith Nabakooba has procured the services of several television, radio stations and online media publishers-practitioners in a bold move to bolster public awareness against the Covid-19 pandemic across the country.
Media experts say this is the first time government has undertaken the procurement of media services across the country thus allowing wide public outreach and penetrating demographics it has never engage since the emergence of the dotcom era nearly 25 years ago. “This is unprecedented for the Uganda government to reach out at this scale and being brave to discard the hitherto traditional considerations of rate cards for mainly the old mainstream media.
“ It looks to be a good move by the technocrats at the ministry especially during this long national wide lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic -to realize that the central government can no- longer ignore the wide influence and reach by the online publishers and broadcasters,” a senior media professional who declined to be named told this publication.
Experts have their say
Other experts have attributed the bold media outreach to the new minister at the helm of the ICT and NG sector, Ms. Judith Nabakoo ba who has rich experience and understanding of the media industry in Uganda -herself being a journalist who also served as the Uganda Police Spokesperson for a long time .
Media industry experts noted that the move will cement mutual working relations between the central government and media players at all levels and boost a coherent and concise government message during and after the Covid-19 pandemic. “This is a good innovation on the part of the government and they can sustain this model beyond Covid-19. Whether it is going to deliver for them a coherent message and allow them deeper penetration- especially by reaching out to the last mile in terms of public service delivery monitoring and feedback will depend on the long-term execution of the strategy and the content delivered .”the media and communications experts explained .
Already , the Ministry of ICT and NG has been active in articulating the measures that have been instituted by government led by Presdient Yoweri Museveni with advise from the ministry of Health to combat the coronavirus that has wreaked havoc across the world . this has helped Uganda unlike other EAC member states to keep the local infection levels low and without any registered death as a result of the pandemic so far.
Uganda has previously set high standards in the fight against epidemics including HIV/Aids and Ebola drawing wide international recognition and the execution of a new robust media communication strategy will certainly be a major boost for this government response against the Covid-19 pandemic.
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