Ugandans Shun Media Due to Misinformation and Malicious Content

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Steven Masiga
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President Yoweri Museveni recently donated over 300 million shillings to his party, the NRM, following a civil suit against the Daily Monitor Newspaper for a defamatory publication related to COVID-19 inoculation. Despite having the option to spend the money on personal interests like importing cars or investing in his farm, he chose to contribute to his political party.

Many Ugandans are now avoiding reading news on various media platforms due to perceived inaccuracies, falsehoods, and malicious content that includes lampooning others.

The story briefly references historical events, such as an incident involving George Washington, to highlight the potential consequences of malicious writing. It suggests that some individuals thrive on chaos and malice, drawing a parallel with mercenaries who live by war.

Section 50 of the penal code in Uganda is mentioned, prohibiting the publication of false news and reporting with the intention of causing disturbance and fear among the public. The article criticizes the misuse of titles by individuals claiming to be chief executives of WhatsApp groups without proper accountability.

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Mainstream media, with its editorial oversight, is contrasted with WhatsApp and bloggers who are accused of spreading reckless, malicious content. The article highlights instances where individuals create WhatsApp groups for the purpose of identifying and abusing others, particularly targeting public figures.

The writer expresses concern about the impact of defamatory write-ups on media houses in Uganda, emphasizing the financial strain resulting from legal costs. The severity of defamation laws in Uganda is mentioned, with penalties including imprisonment for uttering defamatory or seditious content.

The article serves as an educational piece for upcoming writers, advising against starting with malice or intent to intimidate and extract money. It stresses the true purpose of journalism as providing information to the public with news from all regions.

The writer, identifying as a researcher from Mbale, calls for vigilance from the National Council responsible for overseeing media and cyber write-ups. Specific instances of malicious writing in Bugisu, Mbale, and Buganda are highlighted, including accusations of promoting homosexuality without evidence.

The article concludes by condemning the use of social media platforms for tearing down opponents and encourages dialogue for conflict resolution. It notes the involvement of politicians in hiring and facilitating bloggers for their agendas. The writer provides contact information and mentions a personal connection to the issue, expressing sadness over insults towards President Museveni and elders in society.

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