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UCU signs MOU with Africa Institute of Investigative Journalism (AIIJ)

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Uganda Christian University (UCU) and the Africa Institute of Investigative Journalism (AIIJ) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The agreement marks the beginning of a partnership between the UCU and School of Journalism, Media and Communication (SJMC) and AIIJ on various academic and media industry-related areas.

Solomon Sserwanja, the Executive Director at AIIJ, said the partnership was a long-awaited opportunity to partner on “advancing investigative journalism in areas of training, capacity building, resource and resource mobilization,” with UCU and, therefore, was highly welcomed.

On her part, Prof. Monica Chibita, the Dean of SJMC said the partnership will enable collaboration with AIIJ in areas such as “internship, research, visiting lectureship, teaching short courses and partnerships for securing scholarships for investigative journalism at MA and Ph.D. levels at UCU.”

Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, the team from AIIJ led by Solomon Sserwanja, Prof. Monica Chibita and other guests going for a photoshoot after signing the agreement. Photo: Courtesy of AIIJ.
During the ceremony, graced by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, acclaimed the partnership saying it would enrich the training of students at SJMC to embrace investigative journalism because some media stories, indeed, “require more research and digging in and that is why investigative journalism is important”.

The partnership was signed on eve of the International Women’s Day, annually celebrated on March 08. Together UCU and AIIJ organized a dialogue hosted by the former, to discuss the role of women and their inclusion in the discipline of investigative journalism.
The panel: Dr. Anette Kezaabu- Head of Post Graduate Studies, SJMC (Far right), Anna Reisman- Country Representative, KAS Uganda and South Sudan (Far left), Cecilia Okoth- Multimedia investigative journalist at New Vision (3rd Right) and Dr. Patricia Litho- Communication Specialist (2nd Left).
During the panel discussion comprised of five, prominent women in the media industry and academia in Uganda, the moderator, Raymond Mujuni, Deputy Executive Director at AIIJ, noted that only a few women in the newsroom were practicing investigative journalism.

“There are only 24% females in the newsroom. If you look at the ACME awards which award exceptional journalism, only 7% of awards have been won by female journalists. When I walk around the newsroom, I see fewer women,” Raymond said.

With the intent to encourage female journalists to embrace investigative journalism, a documentary film entitled A thousand cuts. The film captures the journalistic work of Maria Rossa, a Nobel-Prize winner and investigative journalist, whose remarkable investigative journalism works revealed ongoing corruption and abuse of power in the Philippines, in the regime of President Rodrigo Duterte, who was infamous for Press repression.

In light of the film, Dr. Annette Kezaabu, Head of Postgraduate studies at SJMC and also one of the panelists, urged young women to work hard like Maria Rossa and to not expect the ‘easy way up’. She cautioned them against “the love of money” that often causes one to compromise on moral values, further encouraging them to endure the humble, and due process in the newsroom that rising to the top of the media industry entails.

This is one of many, major partnerships UCU has consecutively signed with various notable institutions this year, 2022.

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