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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Press Coverage of
Public Affairs in
Uganda
RESEARCH REPORT

Baseline, Round 2, Round 3, Round 4,


June 2013 - July 2017

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Preamble
The motivation for this series of studies on Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda was
that to perform their role of nurturing an effective and engaged citizenry, the media
must be reliable and credible sources of information on public affairs, effective tools for
monitoring the exercise of power, and vibrant forums for public debate.

Until these studies were conceived, there was no systematic evidence to inform
evaluations and judgements of the media’s performance in covering public affairs.
Media critics and defenders from within and outside the profession often relied on
anecdotal proof and individual experience to make their cases.

These studies are ground-breaking in the sense that they provide the first standardised
and comprehensive long-term data on the content of the Ugandan press. Similarly,
they employ a rigorous and consistent yet adaptable methodology designed to enable
meaningful comparison of results over time and to accommodate changes in research
questions and scope.

This compendium of reports is based on four rounds of data that captures various
dimensions of the quality, quantity and nature of press coverage of public affairs
in Uganda between July 2013 and June 2017. The maiden study was designed as a
baseline upon which both the results of and approaches to subsequent rounds would
be benchmarked. As the research progressed through its various phases, the lessons
learned were used to adjust as necessary the methods used in successive rounds of data
collection and analysis.

The specific methodological rationale for each individual study is elaborated in the
introduction to the respective research report. In general, content analysis was the
primary method used across all four rounds of the research project. Data from the first
round was supplemented with qualitative in-depth case studies of selected stories to
enrich the picture that emerged from the data.

In the second round, the focus of coverage was expanded beyond the original three
reporting formats or story types of the first round – conventional, interpretive, and
investigative – by adding a fourth category of enterprise reporting. In the third round,
following a review of the operationalisation of these story types, the interpretive
category was folded into the enterprise category. The conventional, enterprise and
investigative categories were then adopted as the standard story types that were
carried into the fourth round.

As with the reporting formats, the scope of the project in terms of news publications or
content universe also evolved over time. In the first and second rounds, English outlets
– Daily Monitor, New Vision, The Independent and The Observer – were the focus of the
research. In the third round, Bukedde, a Luganda daily, was added to the mix.
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

These ongoing adjustments also extended to the public affairs thematic areas that
the study explored. When the project was initiated, the 12 themes of interest were:
local government; parliament; extractive industry; agriculture; land and property; water and
environment; energy; justice, law and order; transport and public works; health; science and
technology; and education. In the third round, four entirely new public affairs thematic
areas were introduced i.e.: business and economy, defence and security, foreign affairs and
people and power. Three public affairs themes were dropped altogether as categories in
their own right i.e.: local government, parliament and science and technology.

In other changes during the third round, some old categories were either reconstituted or
expanded as follows: energy and extractives; environment and natural resources (including
water); land, housing and settlements; and public works and infrastructure (including
transport). In effect, however, the content of the themes that were eliminated was not
excluded but incorporated in other categories.

This ongoing review of the research design was one of the hallmarks of this project. It
helped to keep the project relevant to the profession and in sync with emerging insights
and research users’ needs. By the third round, a stable and robust set of variables had
been established. Subsequent changes were tweaks intended to fine-tune the approach
and enrich the project in response to continuous learning by the research team and
feedback from stakeholders.
One enduring limitation of this project is the exclusion of the broadcast media and
especially radio which is the predominant source of information for the majority
of Ugandans. The reasons are primarily logistical and mainly to do with the lack of
efficient and cost-effective technological means to monitor broadcast content reliably
and exhaustively.

The value of the evidence that this research project has generated over the years will be
realised only if newsrooms use it to plan their editorial agendas, allocate their newsroom
resources and evaluate their performance. A few of the notable trends are listed in this
preamble, but the full reports are well worth reading for a full understanding of the state
of public affairs media in the country.

Over the course of the project, the findings reveal, the volume of stories on public affairs
became more consistent across the year. During the baseline, we found that public
affairs reporting peaked around the start of the financial year and fell sharply as the
months went by. By the third round, this sort of episodic reporting was no longer the
case. Newsrooms appeared to stick with public affairs reporting for much of the year,
even though they still do more of it around the start of the financial year. Consistent
media attention is important as it helps to sustain the public’s interest in the governance
of the country.
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

One consistent trend that newsrooms may want to re-organise around is the marked
imbalance in what issues and topics get coverage. Agriculture gets far less coverage
than it deserves given that the sector employs more Ugandans than any other. Coverage
of public works and infrastructure is also low; yet in recent years, the government
spent more money on roads and other forms of transport infrastructure than on any
other public investment except public administration. On the other hand, coverage
of the justice, law and order sector made up as much as quarter of all public affairs
reporting each year of the study. Even within a particular issue, reporting tends to
focus too much on a single topic: roads for infrastructure, crops for agriculture, police
for the justice, law and order sector. From the editors we discussed these results with,
we learnt that the imbalances often flow from old newsroom traditions rather than
analysis of reader interest. For instance, newsrooms have always had a police/crime
beat and special desk for covering business but haven’t had any for technology. Thus,
police and business get far more coverage than technology.

On the other hand, newsrooms may want to start requiring more sourcing effort from
their reporters. Over the years, the number of stories that fall short of the standard to
include at least three voices, has remained high. On top of that, these voices are often
not diverse themselves. For instance, people who work for the central government are
significantly overrepresented compared to those who don’t. Women are significantly
underrepresented compared to men. Sourcing also relies a lot on human voices, as
opposed to material sources and data analysis and as a result, investigative reporting
and explanatory reporting remain low. Related to the above but perhaps not entirely
the reporters’ choice, is an overreliance on events and activities as a news source.
Combined with the reliance on government sources, the result is that investigative
and/or explanatory storytelling is rare in public affairs coverage.
As mentioned, the full reports are well worth your time for a more comprehensive look
at the evidence. This compendium reproduces all four reports, from as many years, of
the study. The latest latest report appears at the top, and the baseline comes last.
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Press Coverage of Public


Affairs in Uganda
Round 4: July 2016 – June 2017

ABSTRACT

For the fourth year running, this long-term research project has monitored and analysed
key aspects of the quantity, quality, and nature of the coverage of public affairs issues by
Uganda’s five main print news outlets i.e. Bukedde published in Luganda and Daily Monitor,
New Vision, The Independent and The Observer, all published in English. The first study which
also served as the baseline examined coverage from July 2013 to June 2014. The second round
looked at coverage from July 2014 to June 2015. The third round explored coverage from July
2015 to June 2016. The current study focuses on coverage from July 2016 to June 2017. As with
previous rounds, some necessary modifications to the methodology have been incorporated
while maintaining the maximum possible degree of comparability with earlier findings. The
study uses content analysis to inquire into media practices and performance as they relate to
the coverage of 12 select public affairs issues i.e.: (i) Energy and extractives (ii) Agriculture
(iii) Land, housing and settlements (iv) Environment and natural resources (v) Public works
and infrastructure (vi) Justice, law and order (vii) Health (viii) Education (ix) Business and
economy (x) Defence and security (xi) Foreign affairs (xii) People and power.

CITATION: African Centre for Media Excellence (2018). Press Coverage of Public Affairs in
Uganda. Volume 4; July 2016 – June 2017.

RESEARCH TEAM

George W. Lugalambi (PhD), was the research consultant. He designed the methodology,
modifying it over the four rounds of the study as was needed and drafted this report.
Lydia Namubiru and Brian Ssenabulya, ACME’s internal research team, reviewed of the
methodology, supervised data collection, analysed the data presented here and contributed
to writing the report.
Emma Mulondo, Elijah Wanyama, Godwin Okiror, Mike Lugendo, Aisha Nabuuma, Clare
Muhindo, Jacqueline Emodek collected the data for this study.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION 3
Objectives 3
Research Questions 4
Public Affairs Issues of Interest 4
Public Affairs Frames 5
Reporting Formats 5
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY 7
News Publications Sampled 7
Study Population, Sample and Sampling Method 7
Analytical Plan 7
Coding Procedure and Inter-Coder Reliability 8
Limitations of the Study 8
PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION OF RESULTS 10
Distribution of Coverage 10
Coverage of Issues and Topics 12
Reporting Formats 13
Story Origins 15
Prominence in Coverage 17
Context in Coverage 19
Framing of Issues 20
Sourcing Effort and Types of Sources 21
Who Makes the News? 26
CONCLUSION 30
ANNEX 1: CHANGES IN VARIABLE STRUCTURE 32
ANNEX 2: PUBLIC AFFAIRS ISSUES AND ASSOCIATED TOPICS 34
ANNEX 3: ISSUE FRAMES 36
ANNEX 4: DISTRIBUTION OF COVERAGE BY TOPIC 37
ANNEX 5: INTER-CODER RELIABILITY TEST OUTCOMES 39

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Introduction
Continuing with the research tradition established over four years from July 2013, this phase of a
longitudinal study examines press coverage of public affairs by five national news publications
i.e. Bukedde (Luganda), Daily Monitor, New Vision, The Independent and The Observer (all in English).

Using the story as the unit of analysis, the current study which is Round 4 of the research project
covers the period July 2016 to June 2017. The three preceding studies examined coverage from
July 2013 to June 2014, July 2014 to June 2015, and July 2015 to June 2016.

Every successive study has built upon and complemented its predecessors, thereby providing a
basis for comparison between rounds, if not across all the four phases. Moreover, the methodology
has evolved over the years as it has undergone adaptations and refinements to make it more
robust and in response to feedback from stakeholders. The most far-reaching changes to the
methodology were introduced in the third round and were expounded in the report.1 The main
change in Round 4 is to do with the issue frames, as explained in the relevant sub-section below.

Objectives
1. To gather empirical evidence of the quantity, quality, frequency, scope, and nature of public
affairs coverage by the Ugandan media.
2. To use the data and information generated to evaluate and compare long-term trends and
patterns in coverage over the last three national financial years ending June 2016.
3. To account for the patterns observed as well as the conditions that foster and those that impede
the coverage of public affairs.
4. To explore what media coverage reveals about the broader discourse on public affairs in
Uganda.

Research Questions
1. What is the quantity and quality of media coverage of public affairs and how have they
changed over time?
2. What is the overall distribution of public affairs coverage?
3. What information about public affairs is communicated to the public and how has it changed
over time?
4. How are public affairs issues portrayed and presented to audiences?
5. What public affairs do the media focus on and prioritise in their coverage?
6. Who are the key actors and agenda-setters and whose voices are represented in media
discourse on public affairs?
7. To what extent is data used in the coverage of public affairs and how is it handled?
8. Where applicable, how do key elements and features of the coverage at this point compare

1 See African Centre for Media Excellence (2017). Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda. Volume 3; July
2015 – June 2016.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

with previous findings?

Public Affairs Issues of Interest


The menu of public affairs issues has evolved over the lifespan of the project as Table 1 indicates.
See Annex 2 for detailed descriptions of each issue and associated topics.

Table 1: Evolution of Public Affairs Issues


Baseline Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
Agriculture Agriculture Agriculture Agriculture*
Education Education Education Education*
Energy Energy Energy and
Energy and extractives
Extractive industry Extractive industry extractives*

Health Health Health Health*


Justice, law and order Justice, law and order Justice, law and order Justice, law and order*
Land, housing and Land, housing and
Land and property Land and property
settlements settlements*
Local government Local government** - -
Parliament Parliament** - -
Science and Science and
- -
technology technology**
Transport and public Transport and public Public works and Public works and
works works infrastructure infrastructure*
Water and Water and Environment and Environment and
environment environment natural resources natural resources*
- - Business and economy Business and economy
- - Defence and security Defence and security
- - Foreign affairs Foreign affairs
- - People and power People and power

*Issues which are comparable across the four research rounds.


**Treated as cross-cutting and coded under the issues they belong to.

Public Affairs Frames


A review of the operationalisation of the public affairs frames revealed overlaps and conceptual
challenges that made it necessary to adopt a smaller set of mutually exclusive and tightly defined
categories. The original 11 frames in Round 3 were therefore collapsed into five frames in Round
4 as outlined in Table 2.

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Table 2: Changes in Issue Frames


Round 3 Round 4*
1. Oversight
2. Accountability
3. Governance 1. Oversight and accountability
4. Livelihood and human development
2. Governance
5. Entrepreneurship
6. Rights and rule of law 3. Livelihood and human development
7. Professionalism, ethics and integrity
4. Rights and rule of law
8. Science and innovation
9. Service delivery and consumer affairs 5. Service delivery
10. Foreign and international relations
11. Human, physical and natural hazards

*Refer to Annex 3 for detailed descriptions of each frame.

Reporting Formats
The study focuses on public affairs articles that conform to one of three reporting formats: (i)
Conventional; (ii) Investigative; and (iii) Enterprise.
Under conventional reporting, fact-finding is the dominant posture with common characteristics
such as the following: spot or hard news that tends to focus on events; generally one-dimensional;
neutral and often uncritical transmission of facts; tendency to assign equal weight to all positions;
faithful recording of the observed event or issue; suppression of the journalist’s prior knowledge
of the subject; the journalist’s role is passive and often reactive; depends largely or entirely on
material provided by others; and tends to be event-centred. Sophisticated forms of conventional
reporting combine factual observation with balanced presentation of pertinent background and
contextual information.
Under investigative reporting, exposition is the dominant posture with common characteristics
such as the following: the story is the journalist’s original initiative; depends on material gathered
or generated through the reporter’s own effort; reporting uncovers information that an individual
or entity may have tried to conceal from public scrutiny, or information that an individual or
entity may have had an interest in keeping out of the public domain; resources and evidence
used by the journalist are clearly discernible; evidence of strong documentation (the paper trail)
and sourcing; “involves exposing to the public matters that are concealed – either deliberately by
someone in a position of power, or accidentally, behind a chaotic mass of facts and circumstances
that obscure understanding. It requires using both secret and open sources and documents”
(Hunter et al., p.7).
Under enterprise reporting – used generically for purposes of this research to also include forms
of journalism referred to as interpretive and explanatory – the journalist undertakes to explore
issues and developments beyond routine news events and occurrences. The coverage follows
more leads than the usual straight news story and depends on material gathered or generated
through the reporter’s independent efforts. Enterprise stories generally use the creative style to
explore issues in greater depth usually with the aid of narrative or literary techniques.

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These stories are traditionally presented as features or long-form articles. Instead of focusing on
breaking news, enterprise reporting focuses on the forces that shape the events that may or may
not be in the news. It emphasises explaining, interpreting, and discovering patterns and trends
that may lie behind reported episodes or events. Interpretation and explanation are the dominant
postures and coverage goes beyond the immediate event by adding meaning to complex news
situations. Enterprise reporting explains change and relates events to each other resulting in
comprehensive or multi-dimensional story-telling. The reporting is largely process-centred
because the journalist is usually proactive by initiating coverage rather than waiting for events to
happen.

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Research design and methodology


News Publications Sampled
Data for the study was drawn from coverage by the following news publications:
1. Bukedde (Luganda daily newspaper)
2. Daily Monitor (English daily newspaper)
3. New Vision (English daily newspaper)
4. The Observer (English weekly newspaper)
5. The Independent (English weekly magazine)

Study Population, Sample and Sampling Method


Content analysis as a media research method was employed for this study. The data was
generated at two levels: First, a census of the coverage was conducted to generate the study
population. Second, a sample of 10% of stories was derived from the population on the basis of
each publication’s contribution to the total coverage. Simple random sampling was then used to
select articles from each of the five news outlets.
The findings are thus based on two datasets. The primary dataset is composed of the census of
public affairs articles published by the five news outlets from July 2016 to June 2017. A total of
29,225 stories made up the study population out of which a sample of 2,922 stories (equivalent
to 10% of the overall coverage) was constituted. This sample was then assigned proportionately
based on each publication’s contribution to the population of stories. The sample thus comprises
the secondary dataset on which the comprehensive content analysis is based.

Analytical Plan
The primary level of analysis focuses on six high level variables on which the census data was
collected, while the secondary level of analysis is a full-scale analysis that incorporates the full
range of 13 variables on which data was collected for a 10% sample of the stories (see Table 3).

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Table 3: Levels of Analysis


LEVELS OF ANALYSIS
1 Publication
2 Date
3 Headline PRIMARY ANALYSIS
4 Byline (CENSUS)
5 Page
6 Issue
7 Headline key
8 Format
9 Focus
10 Prominence
11 Region
12 Subject SECONDARY ANALYSIS
13 Institution
14 Original source of the story (SAMPLE)

15 Documentary sources
16 Human sources
17 Tone of coverage
18 Context
19 Issue frame

Coding Procedure and Inter-Coder Reliability


A standardised content analysis methodology in form of a coding scheme has been developed
and improved over successive rounds of the research project. The version of the news content
coding tool that was used for Round 4 is the latest iteration, having benefitted from the learning
and feedback that have accumulated over three years of execution.
Inter-coder reliability (ICR) was tested by grouping the coders into pairs, who then independently
double-coded a sample of the stories. The results were compared using the Kappa statistic to
determine the extent to which the coding by each party was consistent.
The ICR result for each variable was calculated as the total percentage agreement. As the ICR test
outcomes in Annex 5 indicate, the level of agreement was either “almost perfect” or “substantial”
– the two highest ratings of consistency between two coders – for all the variables except context
where the level of agreement was “moderate.”

Limitations of the Study


One enduring shortfall for this research project is the exclusion of the broadcast media where
the majority of Ugandans get their information about public affairs. The reasons for this gap are
largely logistical. They are to do with the lack of efficient and cost-effective technological means
to collect radio and TV broadcast content that is reliable, comprehensive, and extends back for at
least a year of coverage, which is the standard time scope for the project.

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Presentation and discussion of results


Distribution of Coverage
Volume of coverage
In the overall study population, Bukedde (a daily) at 33.3% accounts for the largest share of coverage
by number of stories published (see Table 4). Although the absolute number of stories Bukedde
published in Round 4 dropped by 536 from Round 3, it still retained the top spot for the two
years running. Daily Monitor and New Vision (both dailies) swapped the second and third spots.
As noted in the last round, Bukedde stories are relatively shorter, which opens up its newshole
for more stories than the other dailies can accommodate. Having switched from a tri-weekly to a
weekly since the data was collected, The Observer will in future compete on equal footing with The
Independent. So it will be interesting to see how they compare on all dimensions.

Table 4: Round 4 Study Population and Sample Size


Number of Stories in Study Number of Stories in
10% Sample
Population (Primary Dataset) (Secondary Dataset)
PUBLICATION FREQUENCY PERCENT FREQUENCY PERCENT
Bukedde 9,723 33.3 972 33.3
New Vision 8,280 28.3 828 28.3
Daily Monitor 7,985 27.3 798 27.3
The Observer 2,279 7.8 227 7.8
The Independent 958 3.3 95 3.3
Total 29,225 100.0 2,922 100.0

Trend in coverage
The trend in coverage over the year under review shows a consistent level of media attention
to public affairs (see Figure 1). Whereas coverage peaked in August, the ups and downs were
smoother than we saw especially in the first (baseline) and second rounds from 2013 to 2015. Back
then, the month-to-month differences were comparatively more pronounced and hence coverage
appeared rather episodic. The fourth round continues a trend that emerged in the third round
where reporting on public affairs became more even throughout the months and therefore less
episodic in the long-run.

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Figure 1: Overall Trend in Coverage*

*Based on census data

There were notable differences in coverage among the three dailies, however. Coverage by New
Vision was fairly uniform all through the months; but reporting by Bukedde and Daily Monitor
bounced up and down with intermittent periods of high and low coverage. Reporting by The
Independent and The Observer remained steady (see Figure 2).

Figure 2: Trend in Coverage by Publication*

*Based on census data

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Round 4 was the first time that the study fully reflected the same scope of coverage as in the
preceding round. So the fourth round was a direct replica of the third in terms of public affairs
issues monitored. A comparison of the two rounds shows that from 2015/2016 to 2016-2017,
overall coverage dropped by 1,516 stories or about 5%. The main contributor to this drop was
“people and power” which plummeted by nearly 15 percentage points which, in terms of overall
coverage, was more than half of its share of 25.9% in the third round to 11.3% in the fourth round.

Coverage of Issues and Topics


Nearly one-third of the stories were about “justice, law and order,” a pattern that has held
over from the previous round (2015/2016) where we recorded a similar result. “Business and
economy” which, at 9.1%, was the third most covered in the last round rose to second place in the
current round at 13%. It swapped places with “people and power” which saw a dramatic decline
from 25.9% in the last phase to 11.3% in this phase. Coverage during the last round was largely
shaped by the general election that was at its most intense between October 2015 and March 2016.
“Energy and extractives” and “defence” maintained their position as the least covered stories.
The results, as in the last round, reveal some baffling patterns. For instance, agriculture gets far
less attention than it deserves considering that it employs more Ugandans than any other sector.
“Public works and infrastructure” was relegated even farther down the rankings in this phase of
the study; yet in the five years up to the 2015/2016 financial year, government spent more of the
national budget on roads and other forms of transport and infrastructure than on anything else
except public administration.

Figure 3: Share of Coverage by Issue*

*Based on census data

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Difference in coverage within issues


Refinements to the methodology that were introduced during Round 3 added a level of granularity
to the analysis that allows us to look more specifically at the topics covered beyond the broad
issues (see Annex 4). We found that a single topic tends to dominate coverage of most sectors. For
example, in the extreme cases, energy takes up 45.3% of coverage on “energy and extractives,”
crops 48.2 of “agriculture,” land 67.3% of “land, housing and settlements,” roads 47.2% of “public
works and infrastructure,” criminal justice 40.1% of “justice, law and order,” military 50.0% of
“defence and security,” while international and Africa stories take up 47.6% and 40.6% of foreign
affairs coverage, respectively.

Reporting Formats
Conventional coverage not only remains the predominant reporting format, but also increased its
share of stories from 86.4% in Round 3 to 88.9% in Round 4. On the other hand, the share of the
other reporting formats is on the decline (see Figure 4).

Figure 4: Trend in Reporting Formats*

*Based on census data

The Independent devoted proportionately more coverage to in-depth reporting through enterprise
stories than did any other outlet. Although it seems to have undertaken no investigative reporting
at all, according to the study’s criteria, this could be attributed to The Independent’s distinctive style
by which investigative inquiries tend to be approached with an entreprise lens, hence making
them appear as less hard-nosed investigative pieces (see Table 5).

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Table 5: Reporting Formats by Publication*


Daily New The The
Story Bukedde Total
Format Monitor Vision Independent Observer
Count (n=972) (N=2,922)
(n=798) (n=828) (n=95) (n=229)
Conventional 2,598 92.3 84.5 94.3 67.4 79.5 88.9
Enterprise 271 4.1 15.2 4.5 32.6 18.3 9.3
Investigative 53 3.6 0.4 1.2 0.0 2.2 1.8
*Based on census data

Just seven of the 12 issues monitored in Round 4 were tracked in the first three rounds. The
comparisons in Table 6 are based on these seven. As observed in the general coverage, conventional
reporting holds steady as the dominant reporting format across public affairs issues.
A few trends are noteworthy: In Round 4, the “energy and extractives” sector was subjected to
far less investigative inquiry than was the case in the first three rounds; on average it witnessed
a drop of about 10 percentage points between Rounds 1-3, on the one hand, and Round 4, on
the other. The “public works and infrastructure” sector has also suffered a severe decline in the
proportion of its stories reported through investigative inquiry, from an acme of 17.3% in Round
2 to 3.3% in Round 3 and a paltry 1.6% in Round 4. Investigative journalism in “agriculture” and
in “environment and natural resources” has all but vanished.

Table 6: Trend in Coverage by Reporting Format and Issue*


BASELINE ROUND 2 ROUND 3 ROUND 4
Issue CO EN IN CO EN IN CO EN IN CO EN IN
% % % % % % % % % % % %
Agriculture 76.9 20.3 2.8 57.1 40.4 2.5 79.8 19 1.2 75.0 25.0 0.0
Education 80.7 14 5.2 54.8 36.4 8.8 87.4 9.3 3.3 89.4 9.8 0.8
Energy &
66 25.1 8.9 60.9 27.8 11.3 72.2 16.7 11.1 86.8 11.3 1.9
extractives
Environment &
74.1 18.7 7.1 56.7 34.1 9.2 87.6 12.4 0.0 89.8 10.2 0.0
natural resources
Health 77.5 16.2 6.2 61.2 31.1 7.7 80.1 13.3 6.6 82.3 16.5 1.3
Justice, law & order 79.2 12.7 8.1 64.4 27.9 7.7 92.2 3.7 4.1 92.5 3.9 3.6
Public works &
78.8 13.9 7.3 56.8 25.9 17.3 90.1 6.6 3.3 93.5 4.9 1.6
infrastructure
*The baseline is based on census coverage. Rounds 2, 3 and 4 are based on sample coverage.

Story Origins
The study identified 12 distinctive journalistic pathways to a story plus a miscellaneous category
referred to as “other” (see Table 7). Almost half of all stories originated from “spontaneous
newsworthy occurrences” (24.2%) and “independent reporting, research or investigation” (22.4%).
As was the case in Round 3, data-generated stories were the fewest (0.8%), with The Independent
devoting a greater proportion of its coverage (8.7%) to data-driven reporting than did any other
publication, an increase of 2.8 percentage points from its score in Round 3.

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After “spontaneous newsworthy occurrences,” Bukedde gets the bulk of its stories from “central
government activities” (17.2%), which it uses more frequently than any other outlet. Also after
“spontaneous newsworthy occurrences,” most Daily Monitor (18.5%) and New Vision (26.3%) stories
come from “independent reporting, research or investigation.” The non-dailies, The Independent
at 55.1% and The Observer at 39.2%, base the largest chunk of their coverage on “independent
reporting, research or investigation.” The Observer relies more on “material sources” to generate
stories than do its peers.

Table 7: Story Origin by Publication*


Story
Story origin BUK% DMO% NVI % IND% OBS% Total %
Count
Spontaneous newsworthy
1,077 20.7 22.6 33.2 2.2 7.8 24.2
occurrence
Independent reporting, research
994 12.8 18.5 26.3 55.1 39.2 22.4
or investigation
Central government activity 612 17.2 14.8 13.1 1.4 5.7 13.8
Judicial activity 383 11.9 9.2 5.8 4.3 9.6 8.6
Company or business activity 276 5.5 5.2 7.8 3.6 5.1 6.2
News conference 258 9.4 6.8 2.1 8.0 5.7 5.8
Local government activity 213 11.4 4.0 1.1 0.0 0.6 4.8
NGO or CSO activity 170 7.2 4.2 0.9 2.9 3.9 3.8
Material source 149 0.3 6.3 2.0 9.4 12.3 3.4
Parliamentary activity 149 2.1 3.9 4.2 2.2 3.0 3.4
Other 69 0.5 3.6 1.4 1.4 1.2 1.6
News release 59 0.8 1.0 1.6 0.7 3.3 1.3
Data 34 0.3 0.0 0.5 8.7 2.7 0.8
Total (no. of observations) 4,443 1,370 925 1,676 138 334
Cases (story count) 2,861 971 792 777 95 226
*Based on census data.

The evidence as demonstrated by Table 8 indicates that more enterprise stories originate from
“data” (41.2%), “material sources” (23.5%), and “independent reporting, research or investigation”
(23.4%) than from any other aspect. There are no remarkable differences in the origins of
conventional and investigative stories.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Table 8: Reporting Format by Origin of the Story*


Story Origin Conventional% Enterprise % Investigative%
Spontaneous newsworthy occurrence 95.2 3.1 1.8
Independent reporting, research or investigation 73.3 23.4 3.2
Central government activity 93.6 3.6 2.8
Judicial activity 95.8 2.3 1.8
Company or business activity 89.5 8.3 2.2
News conference 94.2 2.7 3.1
Local government activity 96.2 1.9 1.9
NGO or CSO activity 91.2 7.6 1.2
Material source 73.8 23.5 2.7
Parliamentary activity 93.3 4.0 2.7
Other 92.8 5.8 1.4
News release 94.9 3.4 1.7
Data 58.8 41.2 0.0
*Based on census data.

Over the long-term, the trend in story origin is comparable from the second round through the
fourth. As the findings reported in Table 9 indicate, there are some notable patterns. Independent
reporting and events/activities by central/local governments remain highly sought after by
journalists as story triggers. While news conferences have been declining, with the sharpest fall
recorded between the third and fourth rounds, spontaneous newsworthy events have been on a
steady rise. Stories originating from independent academics have literally dried out; a scenario
that warrants further probing to decipher what exactly might be going on. A plausible explanation
could be that academics generally are feeding into the independent reporting chain.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Table 9: Trend in Origin of the Story*


Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
ORIGIN OF THE STORY
(N=2,981) (n=3,639) (n=2,922)
Independent reporting 23.9 17.0 22.4
Event or activity by central or local government 18.2 13.1 18.6
News conference 13.5 12.4 5.8
Spontaneous newsworthy event 9.6 17.1 24.2
Official report/document 8.4 4.6 3.4
Court, legal/judicial proceedings 8.0 9.3 8.6
Event or activity by entities other than government 7.1 11.2 10
Parliamentary proceedings 6.2 2.4 3.4
News release 2.3 2.0 1.3
Independent academic 1.8
Others 0.8 10.4 1.6
Data analysis 0.1 0.5 0.8
*Based on census data

Prominence in Coverage
Competition for the front page is inevitably stiff. Only so many stories can be accommodated
on the cover. The evidence suggests that the ratio of public affairs stories featured on the front
pages to those appearing inside has been gradually narrowing over the years (see Figure 5),
notwithstanding that public affairs stories feature on the inside stories (85.1% of all articles) still
far outstrip the number of those appearing on the cover pages (14.9%) .

Figure 5: Prominence of Stories by Page Location*


*Based on census data.

Broken down by issue, “defence and security,” though in absolute terms had fewer stories than
all other categories except “energy and extractives,” at 30.4% had the greater proportion of its
coverage appearing on the front page than any other issue. It was followed by “people and
power” at 23.3% and “energy and extractives” at 20.5% (see Table 10). As we noted in the Round
3 report, the fact that “defence and security” as well as “energy and extractives” were accorded
more front page treatment than other issues – in spite of the relatively limited editorial attention
they get – implies one thing: while they are considered important, newsrooms are not investing a
commensurate amount of editorial resources in such a way as to raise the volume of coverage to
the same degree of prominence they enjoy.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Table 10: Page Location of Stories by Issue*


Issue Front Page % Inside Page % Total
Defence and security 30.4 69.6 730
People and power 23.3 76.7 3,288
Energy and extractives 20.5 79.5 542
Justice, law and order 16.5 83.5 8,587
Land, housing and settlements 16.1 83.9 1,593
Education 16.1 83.9 2,417
Public works and infrastructure 13.5 86.5 1,093
Business and economy 11.3 88.7 3,792
Agriculture 10.5 89.5 1,096
Health 9.2 90.8 2,130
Foreign affairs 7.8 92.2 2,711
Environment and natural resources 7.1 92.9 1,246
Total 14.9 (n=4,348) 85.1 (n=24,877) 29,225
*Based on census data.

An analysis of the trend in prominence of public affairs stories based on their page positioning
reveals a consistent pattern. Since the second round of the project when comparable data was first
gathered, public affairs issues have always been more prominent – as first lead stories – relative
to other stories appearing on the same page (see Table 11).

Table 11: Trend in Prominence of Stories by Page Position*


Prominence of the Story Round 2 (n=2,144) Round 3 (n=3,075) Round 4 (n=2,922)
First Lead 56.2 41.6 46.1 (1,347)
Second Lead 28.5 29.1 26.5 (773)
Third Lead 12.8 14.1 12.4 (362)
Other 2.5 15.3 15.1 (440)
*Based on census data.

Context in Coverage
A scale ranging from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) was created to assess stories for the extent to
which they provided meaningful perspective and relevant background to help the reader fully
understand the topic covered. Just less than half of the stories sampled (49%) were adequately
contextualised. Three per cent provided no context at all while only 2% had exceptional context
(see Figure 6).

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Figure 6: Context Provided in Public Affairs Stories*

*Based on census data.

Daily Monitor (80.7%) and Bukedde (54.3%) had the greatest proportions of their stories with
adequate context. New Vision (16.7%) had the fewest stories with adequate context, otherwise
the majority of its stories had either some (47.4%) or limited (33.2%) context. The non-dailies, The
Independent and The Observer, did not perform as well as one would have expected considering the
longer gestation that their stories take to develop. Both carried significant proportions of stories
with some but not adequate context, The Independent at 47.4% and The Observer at 52.0% (see Table
12).

Table 12: Story Context by Publication*


Daily New The The
Bukedde
Context % Monitor Vision Independent Observer
(n=972)
(n=798) (n=828) (n=95) (n=229)
Adequate context 54.3 80.7 16.7 38.9 36.2
Exceptional context 0.3 2.5 0.4 9.5 4.8
Limited context 25.7 2.9 33.2 4.2 6.1
No context 0.4 0.1 9.2 0.0 0.9
Some context but not adequate 19.2 13.8 40.6 47.4 52.0
*Based on census data.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

The trend since context was first measured in Round 3 indicates that just about half of the stories
sampled are consistently given adequate context, which ideally is the threshold for professional
reporting standards. Promisingly, the proportion of stories with no context at all declined as,
though worryingly, did those with exceptional context (see Table 13).

Table 13: Trend in Story Context*


Context Round 3 (n=3,075) Round 4 (n=2,922)
Adequate context 54.3 48.9
Exceptional context 5.2 1.6
Limited context 11.5 19.4
No context 6.5 2.8
Some context but not adequate 22.5 27.3
*Based on census data.

Framing of Issues
As explained earlier, the original set of 12 frames used in Round 3 was revised down to five in
Round 4. For that reason, it’s not possible to directly compare the two trends. The “rights and rule
of law” frame dominated coverage at 35.1% of all stories sampled in Round 4, followed by the
“service delivery” frame at 25.0% (see Figure 7).

Figure 7: Incidence of Frames in Public Affairs Coverage*

*Based on census data.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Sourcing Effort and Types of Sources


Sourcing in general
The evidence suggests that single-sourced stories remain a problem in Ugandan reporting, with
a substantial proportion of articles (28.8%) falling in this category. Two-source stories (21.7%)
were also prevalent. Single- and two-source stories together constituted 50.5% of the coverage
sampled, with stories that included three to five or more sources together accounting for 45.7% of
the coverage. There were also many stories (n=109) with no source at all, accounting for 3.7% of
the sample (see Table 14).

Table 14: Number of Sources per Story*


Number of Sources per Story Number of stories Percent
No source 109 3.7
1 source 842 28.8
2 sources 634 21.7
3 sources 461 15.8
4 sources 349 11.9
5 or more sources 527 18.0
Total 2,922 100.0
*Based on census data.

Trend in sourcing
From our analysis of the trend in sourcing, the proportion of stories with four and five or more
sources has been climbing since the second round of the study, whereas the number of those with
three sources has remained generally flat over the years, ranging from a low of 7% in the second
round to 12% in the fourth phase (see Figure 8).

Figure 8: Trend in Number of Sources per Story*

*Based on census data.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Type of sources
The use of documentary sources was limited at only 4.9% of source types identified (see Table 15).
This reinforces the finding reported earlier about the dearth of investigative journalism, which is
typically driven by paper trails of documented evidence.

Table 15: Type of Source*


Type of Source Number Percent
Human 8,014 95.1
Documentary 417 4.9
Total 8,431 100.0
*Based on census data.

Sourcing by gender
Viewed through a gender lens, the study also found that male sources dominated over their female
counterparts who accounted for a mere 23.9% of the human sources sampled (see Table 16).

Table 16: Human Sources by Gender*


Human sourcing Number Percent
Female 1,752 23.9
Male 5,587 76.1
Total 7339 100.0
*Based on census data.

Use of documentary sources


The non-dailies, The Independent and The Observer, used more documentary sources than the
dailies, as the results in Table 17 show.

Table 17: Documentary Sourcing by Publication*


Number of Percent of Stories with
Publication Story Count
Documentary Sources Documentary Sources
Bukedde 972 118 12.1
Daily Monitor 798 154 19.3
New Vision 828 40 4.8
The Independent 95 30 31.6
The Observer 229 75 32.8
Total 2,922 417 14.3
*Based on census data.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Documentary sourcing by issue


The “justice, law and order” sector (33.1%) had the most stories covered using documentary
sources, followed by business and economy (15.8%). The “agriculture” sector (1.2%) had the
fewest stories covered using documentary sources (see Table 18).

Table 18: Documentary Sourcing by Issue*


Issue Documentary Sources Percent
Justice, law and order 138 33.1
Business and economy 66 15.8
Education 45 10.8
People and power 37 8.9
Health 33 7.9
Land, housing and settlements 25 6.0
Foreign affairs 21 5.0
Energy and extractives 14 3.4
Environment and natural resources 12 2.9
Public works and infrastructure 12 2.9
Defence 9 2.2
Agriculture 5 1.2
Total 417 100.0
*Based on census data.

Source roles in general


Official sources, i.e. people who were approached to comment on stories in their official capacities,
constituted more than half of all roles identified (see Table 19).

Table 19: Role of Source*


Role of sources Frequency Percent
Commenter in duty bearing capacity 4,315 53.8
Commenter as interested party 1,018 12.7
Victim 777 9.7
Other 724 9.0
Witness to events in the story 667 8.3
Perpetrator 411 5.1
Commenter as neutral party 106 1.3
Total 8,018 100.0
*Based on census data.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Source roles by gender


We already noted that at just under a quarter of the sample, female sources were far fewer than
male sources. In terms of roles, females (37.2%) were most often cited as sources in victim roles,
followed by witness to events in the story (31.9%). Females were least cited as official sources or
in their duty bearing capacity (20.2%), as the results reported in Table 20 indicate.

Table 20: Role of Sources by Gender*


Role of the Source Female % (n=1,752) Male % (n=5,586)
Commenter in duty bearing capacity 20.2 79.8
Commenter as interested party 27.8 72.2
Witness to events in the story 31.9 68.1
Other 24.0 76.0
Victim 37.2 62.8
Perpetrator 20.9 79.1
Commenter as neutral party 28.3 71.7
*Based on census data.

Source occupations in general


Viewed through the occupational lens, the most common occupational group found in the sources
identified were ordinary people quoted in their individual capacities (19.1%) followed by central
government representatives (12.6%), as the results reported in Table 21 show.

Table 21: Occupation of Sources*


Occupation of sources Frequency Percent
Ordinary person quoted in their individual capacity 1,528 19.1
Central government representative 1,006 12.6
Law enforcement representative 566 7.1
Local government personnel 559 7.0
Business representative 545 6.8
Other 504 6.3
Minister 478 6.0
Judicial personnel 412 5.1
Member of Parliament 407 5.1
Politician or political operative 372 4.6
Expert 340 4.2
President 256 3.2
Anonymous or unknown 209 2.6
Religious representative 167 2.1
Civil society representative 151 1.9
Military/security representative 125 1.6
Cultural representative 118 1.5

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Diplomatic representative 106 1.3


International NGO representative 78 1.0
Local NGO representative 70 0.9
Vice President 17 0.2
Total 8,014 100.0
*Based on census data.

Source occupations by gender


In terms of occupation, females (40.1%) were more frequently cited as sources among ministers
followed by ordinary people (38.2%) and international NGO representatives (31.5%), as the results
in Table 22 show.

Table 22: Occupation of Sources by Gender*

Sources Female % (n=1,751) Male % (n=5,584)


Anonymous or unknown 33.3 66.7
Business representative 14.7 85.3
Central government representative 25.0 75.0
Civil society representative 29.1 70.9
Cultural representative 11.3 88.7
Diplomatic representative 27.0 73.0
Expert 22.0 78.0
International NGO representative 31.5 68.5
Judicial personnel 26.8 73.2
Law enforcement representative 7.3 92.7
Local government personnel 13.0 87.0
Local NGO representative 19.1 80.9
Member of Parliament 27.6 72.4
Military/security representative 1.8 98.2
Minister 40.1 59.9
Ordinary person quoted in their individual capacity 38.2 61.8
Other 28.7 71.3
Politician or political operative 19.1 80.9
President 0.0 100.0
Religious representative 2.5 97.5
Vice President 0.0 100.0
Total 23.9 76.1
*Based on census data.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Who Makes the News?


Newsmakers in general
By “newsmaker” we refer to the person who is, or group of people who collectively are, the
primary reason for the coverage. The study, as reported in Table 23, found that ordinary people in
their individual capacities (22.5%) featured most as newsmakers followed by central government
representatives.

Table 23: Types of Newsmakers*


Newsmaker Frequency Percent
Ordinary person in his/her individual capacity 620 22.5
Central government representative 297 10.8
Business representative 237 8.6
Politician or political operative 214 7.8
Local government personnel 213 7.7
Law enforcement representative 170 6.2
Expert 164 6.0
Minister 155 5.6
President 115 4.2
Member of Parliament 86 3.1
Religious representative 81 2.9
Civil society representative 74 2.7
Military/security representative 72 2.6
Cultural representative 68 2.5
Judicial personnel 45 1.6
Anonymous or unknown 41 1.5
Other 38 1.4
Diplomatic representative 37 1.3
International NGO representative 13 0.5
Local NGO representative 9 0.3
Vice President 3 0.1
Total 2,752 100.0
*Based on census data.

Gender of newsmakers
Overall, only 21.1% of newsmakers were female. Females featured more as newsmakers among
ordinary people in their individual capacities (30.8%) followed by central government officials
(24.95), as the findings in Table 24 show.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Table 24: Newsmakers by Gender*


Newsmaker Female % (n=422) Male % (n=1,579)
Ordinary person in his/her individual capacity 30.8 69.2
Central government representative 24.9 75.1
Politician or political operative 15.1 84.9
Minister 52.6 47.4
Business representative 11.4 88.6
Local government personnel 12.9 87.1
Law enforcement representative 5.1 94.9
President 0.0 100.0
Expert 21.6 78.4
Religious representative 4.1 95.9
Member of Parliament 27.4 72.6
Cultural representative 5.3 94.7
Military/security representative 1.8 98.2
Civil society representative 29.8 70.2
Judicial personnel 15.0 85.0
Diplomatic representative 43.8 56.3
International NGO representative 27.3 72.7
Local NGO representative 37.5 62.5
Other 20.0 80.0
Anonymous or unknown 33.3 66.7
Vice President 0.0 100.0
Total 21.1 78.9

*Based on census data.

Roles of newsmakers
The study, as reported in Table 25, found that ordinary people in their individual capacities
(44.8%) featured most as newsmakers followed by victims (20.2%) and perpetrators (19.1%).
Table 25: Newsmaker Roles of the Newsmaker*
Role of the newsmaker Frequency Percent
Commenter in duty bearing capacity 1,254 44.8
Victim 565 20.2
Perpetrator 535 19.1
Commenter as interested party 212 7.6
Witness to events in the story 123 4.4
Commenter as neutral party 66 2.4
Other 44 1.6
Total 2799 100.0
*Based on census data.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Institutional coverage
The evidence indicates that central government organs (33.6%) received relatively more coverage
than any other category of institutional newsmaker followed by the private sector or business
entities (19.3%). At 1.4%, international NGOs or private organisations were the least covered
followed by their indigenous peers at 2.8% (see Table 26).
Table 26: Institutions that Made News*
Institution Frequency Percent
Central government organ 1,327 33.6
Private sector or business 764 19.3
Judiciary 383 9.7
Local government organ 312 7.9
State-owned enterprise or parastatal 247 6.3
Other 227 5.7
Parliament 219 5.5
Political party/organisation 184 4.7
International public organisation 123 3.1
Indigenous NGO or private organisation 111 2.8
International NGO or private organisation 55 1.4
Total 3,952 100.0
*Based on census data.

Disaggregated by publication, the data reveals notable differences. For example, central
government organs (45.3%) dominated coverage by Daily Monitor to a greater extent than coverage
by any other news outlet. The private sector/business entities received proportionally similar
levels of attention from all publications, with Bukedde (24.9%), leading the pack by a moderate
margin (see Table 27).
Table 27: Institutional Coverage by Publication*
Daily New Vision The Independent The
Institution Bukedde % Total
Monitor % % % Observer %
Central
23.5 45.3 35.9 27.0 27.9 33.6
government organ
Private sector or
24.9 16.9 16.2 17.4 19.1 19.3
business
Judiciary 13.0 7.2 8.4 7.8 11.3 9.7
Local government
15.1 6.8 3.6 0.9 3.2 7.9
organ
State-owned
enterprise or 4.7 0.7 9.4 13.0 15.2 6.3
parastatal
Other 2.3 10.6 5.9 7.0 2.1 5.7
Parliament 3.5 3.4 9.0 9.6 4.2 5.5

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Political party/
3.2 3.6 5.7 6.1 9.2 4.7
organisation
International
public 2.8 2.4 3.8 8.7 1.4 3.1
organisation
Indigenous
NGO or private 5.7 1.1 1.2 0.0 4.9 2.8
organisation
International
NGO or private 1.2 2.1 0.9 2.6 1.4 1.4
organisation
Total (no. of
1,235 1,002 1,317 115 283 3,952
observations)
Cases (story
972 795 787 95 226 2,875
count)
*Based on census data.

Over the last two phases that the study has tracked institutional coverage in comparable terms,
central government organs as well as the private sector/business have maintained their top spots,
respectively, and in fact significantly grown their shares of media attention. Political parties/
organisations, on the other hand, have suffered a drastic fall in coverage from 14% in 2015/2016
when they benefitted from the general election season that dominated that round to 4.7% in
2016/2017 (see Table 28).

Table 28: Trend in Institutional Coverage*


Institution Round 3 (n=3,544) Round 4 (n=3,952)
Central government organ 28.4 33.6
Private sector or business 10.4 19.3
Judiciary 9.9 9.7
Local government organ 7.8 7.9
State-owned enterprise or parastatal 6.7 6.3
Other 6.9 5.7
Parliament 3 5.5
Political party/organisation 14 4.7
International public organisation 4.4 3.1
Indigenous NGO or private organisation 5.4 2.8
International NGO or private organisation 3.1 1.4
*Based on census data.

26
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

CONCLUSION Second, the coverage of public affairs remains


predominantly conventional. Yet, since social
Round 4 of this research project is a defining media began claiming much of the space that
moment as it marks the evolution of the study the traditional media previously monopolised,
methodology to a state of robustness with the mainstream press has been touting a shift
stable, time-tested variables that provide a to “Day 2 journalism.” If indeed this shift was
sound foundation for future trend analysis, happening as proclaimed, the gap between
comparative assessment, and replication with conventional and interpretive journalism
only minimal tweaks, if necessary. would at least be narrowing by now.
However, conventional coverage not only
In some of the study rounds, the project remains the predominant reporting format,
attempted to triangulate with different forms but also grew its share of stories between the
of qualitative analysis. In the first study, for third and fourth rounds. The interpretive and
instance, case analysis was used to examine investigative formats both declined.
qualitative aspects of the coverage focusing
on select public affairs issues. In the third Third, from the analysis of the trend in
around, case studies were undertaken with a sourcing, there is growth in the proportion
focus on the quality of data-driven reporting. of stories with four and five or more sources,
Across all studies, dissemination workshops although the prevalence of stories with three
involving media and other stakeholder or fewer sources remains disproportionately
representatives have served as sounding high. A plausible reason is that the pressure
boards for data interpretation to elucidate to keep up with social media is forcing the
the patterns observed and to help explain mainstream press to be less rigorous with its
the findings and their implications for media sourcing. Also, female sources are still critically
practice. under-represented. Previous discussions with
stakeholders have attributed this to a mix of
The trend in coverage shows a consistently factors, including a less obvious one which has
high level of media attention to public affairs, to do with female sources themselves such as
with anywhere between 500 and 600 stories their availability, interest, and assertiveness.
published every week by all print news As a result, the media tends to turn to the same
outlets in the sample combined. Four trends narrow cast of female sources. No doubt the
deserve particular mention. gender dynamics in coverage of public affairs
First, although one would have expected issues calls for further research to get to the
that issues like health and agriculture that bottom of the causes of the patterns observed.
have a direct bearing on people’s livelihoods Lastly, the trend as observed indicates that only
and welfare would garner the most media about half of the coverage consists of stories
attention, the trend in the evidence reveals consistently reported with adequate context.
something different: the issues of “justice, law This is clearly a disservice to audiences. The
and order” as well as “business and economy” implications of exposing readers to shallow
are consistently the most extensively reported information are beyond the scope of this
in comparison to all other public affairs. The series of studies. The project could in future
reason could be that these matters manifest - even if on a small scale or trial basis - delve
more visibly in terms of how citizens encounter into cognitive aspects of news exposure and
the realities of daily life. In other words, the reception to better understand the extent to
systems of the rule of law and of the economy which the news practices observed affect
are palpable everywhere citizens turn and in audiences.
everything they do. So the media follow suit
because these two issues do more to shape
how people structure their day-to-day lives
than anything else.

27
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Annex 1: Changes In Variable Structure


Changes In Variable Structure
Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4
1 Publication Title of publication Title of publication Publication
Frequency of
2 Date Type of publication Date
publication
3 Headline Date of publication Date of story publication Headline
4 Byline Page number Page number Byline
5 Page Public affairs issue Public affairs issue Page
6 Issue Headline Headline Issue
7 Headline key Reporting approach Subject of the story Headline key
8 Format Position of the story Reporting format Format
Geographical focus of
9 Subject Article length Focus
the story
Individual focus of
Position of headline on the
10 Prominence the story: Name, Role, Prominence
page
Gender, Age
Institutional focus of Prominence of story on the
11 Region Region
the story page
12 Newsmaker Origin of the story Scope of the story Subject
13 Institution Type of coverage Focus of the story Institution
Identity and occupation of
Original source the person who is or people Original source of
14 Drivers of coverage
of the story who are the focus of the the story
story
Function of the person who
Diversity of Documentary
15 Tone of coverage is or people who are the
sources sources
focus of the story
Gender of the person who is
Multiplicity of
16 Sources or people who are the focus Human sources
sources
of the story
Nationality of the person
Tone of
17 who is or people who are the Context
coverage
focus of the story
Age of the person who is or
18 Context people who are the focus of Issue frame
the story
Identity of the institution
Public affairs
19 that is or institutions that are
frame
the focus of the story
Function of the institution
20 that is or institutions that are
the focus of the story
21 Origin of the story
22 Context of the story

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Tone of the story with regard


23
to the subject of coverage
24 Priority source 1
25 Priority source 2
26 Priority source 3
27 Priority source 4
28 Priority source 5

Annex 2: Public Affairs Issues And Associated Topics


Public Affairs Issues and Associated Topics
Public Affairs Issue (by sector) Headline Key (by topic)
1 ENERGY AND EXTRACTIVES: Issues, 1. Oil
occurrences, and developments concerning, 2. Gas
affecting, or originating from activities, laws,
regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state- 3. Minerals
and non-state actors and institutions involved in 4. Energy
the development, production, management, and
consumption of all forms of energy as well as oil, 5. Institutional or sector management
gas, and minerals, including the entire energy 6. Other
and extractive value chains.
2 AGRICULTURE: Issues, occurrences, and 1. Crops
developments concerning, affecting, or 2. Animals
originating from activities, laws, regulations,
policies, authorities, as well as state- and non- 3. Institutional or sector management
state actors and institutions related to or involved 4. Other
in farming and livestock. This includes all forms
of agriculture and the support systems on which
farming and livestock production depend.
3 LAND, HOUSING AND SETTLEMENTS: Issues, 1. Land
occurrences, and developments concerning, 2. Property
affecting, or originating from occupation of or
settlement on land and property (private and 3. Housing
public) as well as activities, laws, regulations, 4. Urbanisation/urban development
policies, and institutions related to physical land
mass and the structures on it such as buildings, 5. Physical planning
real estate, construction, rights, ownership, and 6. Institutional or sector management
management.
7. Other
4 ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL RESOURCES: 1. Water and sanitation
Issues, occurrences, and developments 2. Water bodies
concerning, affecting, or originating from water
bodies and environmental resources, activities, 3. Forests
laws, regulations, and policies as well as the 4. Fisheries
people, authorities, and institutions responsible
for the management of water and environmental 5. Wildlife
resources. This includes all forms of nature, the 6. Climate and weather
ecosystem, wildlife and activities that take place
on water and in the natural environment as well 7. Natural disasters
as issues to do with the exploitation or use of 8. Institutional or sector management
these natural assets.
9. Other

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

5 PUBLIC WORKS AND INFRASTRUCTURE: 1. Roads


Issues, occurrences, and developments 2. Railways
concerning, affecting, or originating from
activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities, 3. Aviation
as well as state- and non-state actors and 4. Marine
institutions involved in the development,
management and use of all forms of transport 5. General transport
and public works infrastructure and services. 6. ICT
This includes public and private transportation
services and systems as well as motorised and 7. Institutional or sector management
non-motorised transport systems and facilities on 8. Other
land and water and in the air such roads, airports,
shipping, and railways.
6 JUSTICE, LAW AND ORDER: Issues, 1. Civil justice
occurrences, and developments concerning, 2. Criminal justice
affecting, or originating from activities, laws,
regulations, policies, authorities, as well as 3. Human rights
state- and non-state actors and institutions 4. Corruption
involved in the functions of courts and agencies
or organisations concerned with human rights, 5. Police
the administration of justice, and the rule of law 6. Prisons
including their officers, administrators, as well as
enforcement personnel, bodies and mechanisms. 7. Institutional or sector management
8. Other
7 HEALTH: Issues, occurrences, and developments 1. Diseases
concerning, affecting, or originating from 2. Drugs
activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities,
as well as state- and non-state actors and 3. Institutional or sector management
institutions involved in the development, 4. Other
management and use of all forms of health
facilities, systems and services such as public
and private hospitals and health centres for the
general physical condition of the population. This
includes personnel who work in and manage the
health system and sector such as administrators
and service providers, quality of life and access
to treatment, disease and outbreaks and health
infrastructure.
8 EDUCATION: Issues, occurrences, and 1. Primary level
developments concerning, affecting, or 2. Secondary level
originating from activities, laws, regulations,
policies, authorities, as well as state- and 3. Tertiary level
non-state actors and institutions related to or 4. Higher level
involved in all aspects of the formal and informal
education systems. This includes schools, 5. Institutional or sector management
institutions of higher learning, methods of 6. Other
learning, the learners, the system of examination
and certification, scholastic materials and
structures, skills and the quality of the school
system.

30
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

9 BUSINESS AND ECONOMY: Issues, occurrences, 1. Commerce


and developments concerning, affecting, or 2. Banking and finance
originating from activities, laws, regulations,
policies, authorities, as well as state- and non- 3. Economic policy and development
state actors and institutions related to or involved 4. Taxation
in all aspects of formal and informal business
and economy including wealth creation; income 5. Institutional or sector management
generation; all forms of individual, collective, 6. Other
private, and public enterprise; markets and
investment; domestic and foreign trade; and
commercial interests in general.
10 DEFENCE AND SECURITY: Issues, occurrences, 1. Military
and developments concerning, affecting, or 2. Terrorism
originating from activities, laws, regulations,
policies, authorities, as well as state- and non- 3. National security
state actors and institutions related to or involved 4. Institutional or sector management
in all aspects of national defense and security.
5. Other
11 FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Issues, occurrences, 1. EAC
and developments concerning, affecting, or 2. Africa
originating from activities, laws, regulations,
policies, authorities, as well as state- and non- 3. International
state actors and institutions related to or involved 4. Institutional or sector management
in Uganda’s diplomatic relations and such other
relationships and dealings with foreign countries 5. Other
and entities at the regional, continental, and
global levels.
12 PEOPLE AND POWER: Issues, occurrences, 1. Pro-establishment actors/actions
and developments concerning, affecting, 2. Anti-establishment actors/actions
or originating from the exercise of popular,
constitutional, legislative, and political power and 3. Civil society actors/actions
authority by citizens and their representatives. 4. Spontaneous collective actions
5. Political and democratic processes
6. Other

31
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Annex 3: Issue Frames


Working Definitions of Issue Frames
1 Oversight and Monitoring performance and compliance by and holding to account
accountability the individuals, authorities and entities entrusted with public
resources and functions.
2 Governance Functioning of institutions, systems, processes and the people
(collectively and individually) in charge; exercise of legislative,
political and administrative power through making, passing and
implementing laws, policies and regulations by central and local
government entities and individuals.
3 Livelihood and human Human condition in terms of the economic, social, moral and spiritual
development wellbeing/welfare of citizens individually and collectively including
health, labour, employment, sports, culture, leisure, faith and social
security.
4 Rights and rule of law Rights of all forms including human, constitutional, civil, political,
social, economic, minority, sexual; access to all forms of justice
including civil, commercial, and criminal; implementation and
execution of judicial functions and obligations; enforcement and
observance of law and order at all levels of society and in all domains
of human interaction.
5 Service delivery Access to, consumption as well as provision by public and
private entities of public goods, products, services, facilities, and
infrastructure.

Annex 4: Distribution Of Coverage By Topic


Round 4 Distribution of Coverage Based on 10% Sample
Issue Topic Frequency Percent
Energy and Extractives Energy 24 45.3
Oil 15 28.3
Minerals 9 17.0
Institutional or sector management 5 9.4
Agriculture Crops 54 48.2
Animals 26 23.2
Institutional or sector management 16 14.3
Other 12 10.7
Equipment and supplies 4 3.6
Land, Housing and
Land 105 67.3
Settlements
Housing 12 7.7
Urbanisation/urban development 11 7.1
Other 9 5.8
Institutional or sector management 7 4.5
Property 7 4.5
Physical planning 5 3.2

32
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Environment and Natural


Forests 24 17.5
Resources
Water and sanitation 23 16.8
Natural disasters 20 14.6
Fisheries 19 13.9
Other 14 10.2
Wildlife 13 9.5
Water bodies 10 7.3
Climate and weather 8 5.8
Institutional or sector management 6 4.4
Public Works and
Aviation 6 4.9
Infrastructure
ICT 8 6.5
Roads 58 47.2
Transport 22 17.9
Institutional or sector management 15 12.2
Railways 7 5.7
Marine 4 3.3
Other 3 2.4
Justice, Law and Order Criminal justice 344 40.1
Civil justice 193 22.5
Police 160 18.7
Corruption 51 6.0
Institutional or sector management 46 5.4
Human rights 40 4.7
Prisons 12 1.4
Other 10 1.2
Political and democratic processes 1 0.1
Health Diseases 85 36.8
Institutional or sector management 66 28.6
Drugs 27 11.7
Other 27 11.7
Equipment and supplies 26 11.3
Education Higher level 75 30.6
Institutional or sector management 53 21.6
Secondary level 43 17.6
Primary level 41 16.7
Tertiary level 20 8.2
Other 13 5.3

33
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Business and Economy Commerce 96 26.9


Institutional or sector management 71 19.9
Economic policy and development 54 15.1
Other 53 14.8
Banking and finance 50 14.0
Taxation 33 9.2
Defence and Security Military 37 50.0
National security 18 24.3
Terrorism 10 13.5
Institutional or sector management 5 6.8
Other 4 5.4
Foreign Affairs International 121 47.6
Africa 103 40.6
EAC 20 7.9
Other 6 2.4
Institutional or sector management 4 1.6
People and Power Spontaneous collective actions 85 26.3
Political and democratic processes 73 22.6
Pro-establishment actors/actions 64 19.8
Anti-establishment actors/actions 58 18.0
Other 28 8.7
Civil society actors/actions 15 4.6
Total 2,922

Annex 5: Inter-Coder Reliability Test Outcomes


Round 4 Inter-Coder Reliability Test Outcomes
Variable Level of Agreement Kappa Statistic Conclusion
Publication 100.0% 1.00 Almost perfect agreement
Date 100.0% 1.00 Almost perfect agreement
Headline 100.0% 1.00 Almost perfect agreement
Byline 94.9% 0.94 Almost perfect agreement
Page 95.1% 0.95 Almost perfect agreement
Issue 76.9% 0.71 Substantial agreement
Headline key 92.5% 0.90 Almost perfect agreement
Format 97.8% 0.97 Almost perfect agreement
Focus 87.2% 0.85 Almost perfect agreement
Prominence 78.8% 0.71 Substantial agreement
Region 100.0% 1.00 Almost perfect agreement
Subject 78.3% 0.70 Substantial agreement

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Institution 82.5% 0.79 Substantial agreement


Original source of the story 95.6% 0.95 Almost perfect agreement
Documentary sources 91.7% 0.89 Almost perfect agreement
Human sources 84.8% 0.83 Almost perfect agreement
Context 61.4% 0.54 Moderate agreement
Issue frame 84.3% 0.74 Substantial agreement
INTERPRETATION OF THE KAPPA STATISTIC <0.0 Poor agreement
0.00-0.20 Slight agreement
0.21-0.40 Fair agreement
0.41-0.60 Moderate agreement
0.61-0.80 Substantial agreement
0.81-1.00 Almost perfect agreement

35
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Press Coverage of Public


Affairs in Uganda
Round 3: July 2015 - June 2016

ABSTRACT: This is the third round of a long-term research project that tracks and analyses
the coverage of public affairs by the Ugandan media. The first, and baseline, study explored
coverage from July 2013 to June 2014. The second round of the research reviewed coverage
from July 2014 to June 2015. The present study, modified in some aspects while maintaining
comparability with the first two studies, employs the methods of content analysis and case
analysis to interrogate media practices and performance. It examines various dimensions of
the quantity, quality, and nature of the coverage of public affairs issues by Uganda’s four
main English news publications (Daily Monitor, New Vision, The Independent, and The
Observer) as well as the country’s main newspaper in an indigenous language (Bukedde
published in Luganda). The public affairs issues explored are: energy and extractives;
agriculture; land, housing and settlements; environment and natural resources; public works
and infrastructure; justice, law and order; health; education; business and economy; defence
and security; foreign affairs; as well as people and power.

CITATION: African Centre for Media Excellence (2017). Press Coverage of Public Affairs in
Uganda. Volume 3; July 2015 – June 2016.

RESEARCH TEAM

George W. Lugalambi (PhD), was the research consultant. He designed the methodology,
modifying it over the four rounds of the study as was needed and drafted this report.
Peter Mwesige (PhD), Lydia Namubiru and Brian Ssenabulya, ACME’s internal research
team, reviewed of the methodology, supervised data collection, analysed the data presented
here and contributed to writing the report.
Emma Mulondo, Elijah Wanyama, Godwin Okiror and Mike Lugendo, collected most of the
data for this study, together with Clare Muhindo, Jacqueline Emodek, Justin Emedot and
Andrew Kaggwa

iii
CONTENTS Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

INTRODUCTION 1
Objectives 2
Research Questions 2
Public Affairs Issues of Interest 2
Public Affairs Frames 3
Major Reporting Formats 4
News Publications of Interest 4

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY 5


Content Analysis 5
Study Population, Sample and Sampling Method 5
Analytical Plan 6
Coding Procedure and Inter-Coder Reliability 7
Case Studies: Qualitative Analysis of Data-Driven Stories 7
Limitations of the Study 7

PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION OF RESULTS 8


Distribution of Coverage 8
Volume of coverage 8
Coverage of Issues and Topics 10
Reporting Formats 12
Story Origins 14
Shifts in Story Origin 15
Prominence in Coverage 16
Context in Coverage 19
Framing of Issues 20
Sourcing Effort 21
Type of Sources 21
Who Gets to Speak? 23
Who are the Newsmakers? 24
Institutions Making the News 26

CASE STUDY ANALYSIS OF DATA STORIES 28

CONCLUSION 35

ANNEXES: 36
Annex 1: Changes In Variable Structure 36
Annex 2: Public Affairs Issues And Associated Topics 38
Annex 3: Operational Definitions Of Public Affairs Issues 40
Annex 5: Inter-Coder Reliability Test Outcomes 43
Annex 7: Distribution Of Frames By Public Affairs Issue 47
Annex 8: Individual Sources Identified In Public Affairs Stories 48
Annex 9: Source/Voice Categories In Public Affairs Stories 49

iv
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Introduction
This report examines the coverage of public affairs by five national news publications during the
12-month period from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016. It is the third report from a long-term research
project that started in 2014. The two antecedent studies, including the first that was designed as a
baseline, explored coverage for the periods of July 2013 to June 2014 (referred to as the Baseline) and
July 2014 to June 2015 (referred to as Round 2) respectively. The present study (referred to as Round
3 in this report) builds on and complements its forerunners and provides opportunities to compare
important trends and patterns over three years of news coverage.

Whereas the research design ensures comparability across key variables and measures over the three
rounds, this study is not a wholesale replication of the baseline and Round 2. Adaptations have been
made in response to stakeholder feedback, to accommodate evolving interests, and to broaden and
streamline the scope of issues explored.

In particular, the public affairs of interest have been rejigged to align them more closely with the
government’s public sector management system and nomenclature. This system reflects the
government’s approach to, and structure for, allocating the national budget and managing public
resources generally.

In general, the methodology applied in Round 3 reflects the accumulated learning from the two
previous rounds. As the project progressed, changes and improvements were made to the baseline
methodology and applied to the subsequent phases of the project.

Similarly, further adjustments were made to Round 2 and applied to Round 3. The most significant of
the changes introduced in Round 3 relate to the variables of interest and their measurement. Annex
1 outlines the changes made to the variable structure over the three research rounds. Some variables
were dropped, some added, and some reformulated or merged to improve overall precision in
measurement and efficiency in coding/data collection, which was in turn expected to improve overall
validity and reliability.

Another critical change has been the introduction of a new variable referred to as “public affairs
frames”. A frame is the underlying theme or matter in contention as reported or reflected in a given
story. The frames broaden our understanding of public affairs discourse from what issues are covered
to the narrative context within which this coverage happens.

In the third round, we also introduced topics/headline keys beneath each public affairs issue to more
specifically track what gets reported on.

Lastly, experience from coding processes during the baseline and Round 2 suggested that the
boundary between ‘enterprise’ and ‘interpretive’ reporting formats was more porous than assumed.
The separation of the two formats appeared redundant, so they were merged.

1
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Objectives
Media content is a barometer of the state of the national conversation on public affairs. The evidence
generated from analysing this content serves to illuminate the flow, form, and substance of public
deliberation about public affairs. For the engaged citizens, this series of media monitoring studies will
inform their understanding of how the media interacts with public affairs, policy, and governance
generally. Therefore, the objectives of the research are:

1. To gather empirical evidence of the quantity, quality, frequency, scope, and nature of public
affairs coverage by the Ugandan media.

2. To use the data and information generated to evaluate and compare long-term trends and
patterns in coverage over the last three national financial years ending June 2016.

3. To account for the patterns observed as well as the conditions that foster and those that
impede the coverage of public affairs.

4. To explore what media coverage reveals about the broader discourse on public affairs in
Uganda.

Research Questions

1. What is the quantity and quality of media coverage of public affairs and how have they
changed over time?

2. What is the overall distribution of public affairs coverage?

3. What information about public affairs is communicated to the public and how has it changed
over time?

4. How are public affairs issues portrayed and presented to audiences?

5. What public affairs do the media focus on and prioritise in their coverage?

6. Who are the key actors and agenda-setters and whose voices are represented in media
discourse on public affairs?

7. To what extent is data used in the coverage of public affairs and how is it handled?

8. Where applicable, how do key elements and features of the coverage at this point compare
with previous findings?

Public Affairs Issues of Interest


The project began with a focus on 12 public affairs issues at the baseline phase. The same set of issues
was maintained in the second round. Changes were made in the third round with the introduction of
three entirely new issues: ‘business and economy,’ ‘defence and security,’ and ‘foreign affairs.’ Among
the reconfigurations, ‘energy’ was merged with ‘extractives’ and ‘environment’ was combined with an
expanded natural resources category which subsumed ‘water.’ ‘Land and property’ were subsumed
under a reconstituted issue of ‘land, housing and settlements.’ ‘Public works’ was combined with an
expanded ‘public works and infrastructure’ category under which ‘transport’ was incorporated. ‘Local

2
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

government,’ ‘parliament,’ and ‘science and technology’ were dropped altogether as issues in their
own right as they were deemed to be cross-cutting. Their content was therefore integrated in the other
issues as applicable. Table 1 summarises the issue scenario over the three research rounds.

Table 1: Public Affairs Issues as Tracked Over the Years

Baseline Round 2 Round 3


1 Agriculture Agriculture Agriculture*
2 Education Education Business and economy
3 Energy Energy Defence and security
4 Extractive industry Extractive industry Education*
5 Health Health Energy and extractives*
Environment and natural
6 Justice, law and order Justice, law and order
resources*
7 Land and property Land and property Foreign affairs
8 Local government Local government Health*
9 Parliament Parliament Justice, law and order*
10 Science and technology Science and technology Land, housing and settlements
Transport and public
11 Transport and public works Public works and infrastructure*
works
12 Water and environment Water and environment
*Issues which are comparable across the three research rounds.

In the research design for Round 3, a new layer of detail was added by identifying the specific topics
(coded as headline keys) that were associated with each public affairs issue covered. This allowed
the study to go farther than the traditional macro level of analysis. At the micro level, the dissection
of coverage by topic illuminates the degree and pattern of attention to particular areas of the various
public affairs issues studied. Refer to Annex 2 for a list of the public affairs issues and their associated
topics and to Annex 3 for the operational definitions of all the issues under review.

Public Affairs Frames


The concept of ‘frames’ was introduced in Round 3 as a mechanism to highlight the underlying
narratives that, on one level, colour the coverage of particular issues and, on another level, unify the
coverage of public affairs at large. The 11 frames (see Annex 4 for the operational definitions) are:

1. Oversight 7. Professionalism, ethics and integrity


2. Accountability 8. Science and innovation
3. Governance 9. Service delivery and consumer affairs
4. Livelihood and human development 10. Foreign and international relations
5. Entrepreneurship 11. Human, physical and natural hazards
6. Rights and rule of law

3
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Major Reporting Formats


The study focuses on public affairs articles that conform to one of three reporting formats: (i)
Conventional; (ii) Investigative; and (iii) Enterprise.

Under conventional reporting, fact-finding is the dominant posture with common characteristics such
as the following: spot or hard news that tends to focus on events; generally one-dimensional; neutral
and often uncritical transmission of facts; tendency to assign equal weight to all positions; faithful
recording of the observed event or issue; suppression of the journalist’s prior knowledge of the subject;
the journalist’s role is passive and often reactive; depends largely or entirely on material provided by
others; and tends to be event-centred. Sophisticated forms of conventional reporting combine factual
observation with balanced presentation of pertinent background and contextual information.

Under investigative reporting, exposition is the dominant posture with common characteristics such as
the following: the story is the journalist’s original initiative; depends on material gathered or generated
through the reporter’s own effort; reporting uncovers information that an individual or entity may
have tried to conceal from public scrutiny, or information that an individual or entity may have had an
interest in keeping out of the public domain; resources and evidence used by the journalist are clearly
discernible; evidence of strong documentation (the paper trail) and sourcing; “involves exposing
to the public matters that are concealed – either deliberately by someone in a position of power, or
accidentally, behind a chaotic mass of facts and circumstances that obscure understanding. It requires
using both secret and open sources and documents” (Hunter et al., p.7).

Under enterprise reporting – used generically for purposes of this research to also include forms of
journalism referred to as interpretive and explanatory – the journalist undertakes to explore issues and
developments beyond routine news events and occurrences. The coverage follows more leads than
the usual straight news story and depends on material gathered or generated through the reporter’s
independent efforts. Enterprise stories generally use the creative style to explore issues in greater
depth usually with the aid of narrative or literary techniques. These stories are traditionally presented
as features or long-form articles. Instead of focusing on breaking news, enterprise reporting focuses
on the forces that shape the events that may or may not be in the news. It emphasises explaining,
interpreting, and discovering patterns and trends that may lie behind reported episodes or events.
Interpretation and explanation are the dominant postures and coverage goes beyond the immediate
event by adding meaning to complex news situations. Enterprise reporting explains change and relates
events to each other resulting in comprehensive or multi-dimensional story-telling. The reporting is
largely process-centred because the journalist is usually proactive by initiating coverage rather than
waiting for events to happen.

News Publications of Interest


Data for the study was drawn from coverage by the following news publications:

1. Daily Monitor (English-language daily newspaper)


2. New Vision (English-language daily newspaper)
3. The Observer (English-language tri-weekly newspaper)
4. The Independent (English-language weekly magazine)

5. Bukedde (Luganda-language daily newspaper)

4
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Research Design and Methodology


Content Analysis
Study Population, Sample and Sampling Method
The content analysis was carried out at two levels. On the primary level, a census of the coverage of
public affairs over the 12-month period under review was carried out to generate the study population.
On the secondary level, a sample equivalent to 10% of articles in the population was generated based
on each publication’s contribution to the population of coverage. The sample stories were then selected
from each of the five news outlets through simple random sampling.

The analysis of coverage therefore draws on two datasets. The primary dataset comprises a census of
public affairs articles published by the five news outlets from July 2015 to June 2016. As Table 2 shows,
30,741 public affairs stories were identified over the study period.

From the population of 30,741 stories in Round 3 of the study, a sample of 3,075 stories (equivalent to
10% of the overall coverage) was generated. This sample was then allocated proportionately based on
the contribution of each publication to the total population of stories as indicated in Table 2. This is the
sample that was used for the comprehensive content analysis.

Table 2: Round 3 Study Population and Sample Size

Stories in Study Population Stories in 10% Sample


Publication
(Overall Coverage) (Sample Coverage)
Number Percent Number Percent
Bukedde 10,295 33.4 1,026 33.4
Daily Monitor 9,810 31.9 981 31.9
New Vision 7,705 25.1 771 25.1
Observer 2,160 7.0 216 7.0
Independent 807 2.6 81 2.6
Total 30,741 100.0 3,075 100.0

5
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Table 3 shows the changes over time in the story population sizes. Bukedde was not included in the
first two phases of the project.

Table 3: Changes in Story Population Across all Study Rounds

Baseline Round 2 Round 3


July 2013 – June 2014 July 2014 – June 2015 July 2015 – June 2016
Publication Number of Stories Percent Number Percent Number Percent
Bukedde - - - - 10,295 33.4
Daily Monitor 1,095 38.5 2,574 39.6 9,810 31.9
New Vision 1,045 36.8 2,842 43.7 7,705 25.1
Observer 547 19.2 997 15.3 2,160 7.0
Independent 156 5.5 92 1.4 807 2.6
Total 2,843 100 6,505 100 30,741 100.0

Analytical Plan
At the primary level, the analysis draws on data from the census by focusing on the following six high
level variables:

1. Publication
2. Date
3. Headline
4. Byline
5. Page
6. Issue
At the secondary level, the analysis draws on data from the 10% sample of coverage by conducting a
comprehensive full-scale analysis based on an expanded battery of 13 variables as follows:

1. Headline key
2. Format
3. Subject
4. Prominence
5. Region
6. Newsmaker
7. Institution
8. Original source of the story
9. Diversity of sources
10. Multiplicity of sources
11. Tone of coverage
12. Context
13. Public affairs frame

6
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Coding Procedure and Inter-Coder Reliability

The data was collected using a standard coding scheme developed and fine-tuned progressively
through the three rounds of the research project. Inter-coder reliability (ICR) was tested by grouping
the coders into pairs. The pairs then double-coded a sample of the stories, with each half of the pair
working independently. The results of each pair were statistically compared using the Kappa statistic
to determine the degree to which coding outcomes were identical or generally consistent. The ICR
outcome for each target variable was computed as the overall percentage agreement. Two sets of ICR
tests were done and the inconsistencies observed addressed through coder training and pilot coding.
The ICR was found generally satisfactory, ranging from ‘substantial’ to ‘almost perfect’ agreement
for all variables. Statistically, variables that proved rather challenging from a coding perspective
were ‘region’ and ‘newsmaker’ where the levels of agreement were not as high as they were for other
variables. See Annex 5 for outcomes of the test for the individual variables.

Case Studies: Qualitative Analysis of Data-Driven Stories


To round out the picture emerging from the content analysis, a selection of data-driven stories was
subjected to in-depth qualitative analysis. The aim of the case studies was to illustrate the extent to
which the targeted stories reflect best practices in data-driven reporting. The qualitative analysis
looked at the following aspects:

• Data reporting and enterprise


• Accuracy in use, interpretation and analysis of data
• Visualisation and storytelling with data

Limitations of the Study


This research project does not look at coverage of public affairs by broadcast media1, which is the
foremost source of information for the majority of Ugandans. That implies that a significant portion
of the national discourse about public affairs is not captured in the analysis. However, research on
newspapers, which very often set the agenda for broadcast media in Uganda, is still important.

Although the research is intended to inform media practice, ongoing learning around methodology
and process as well as the labour-intensive nature of coding/data gathering leads to late reporting of
the results. In the present case, the results are coming a year past the period monitored. This denies
media houses the opportunity to respond and act on the findings in good time to make the necessary
improvements and changes that would be promptly captured in the subsequent round of the research.
However, ACME has invested in specialised media monitoring equipment that should substantially
reduce the research cycle. The results of next/fourth round covering the period of July 2016 to June
2017 are expected no later than December 2017.

1 We were unable to get all the necessary recordings of previous broadcasts.

7
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Presentation and Discussion of Results


In this section, the findings are presented and discussed in the context of the tenets of the profession
and the standards of quality journalism in general.

Distribution of Coverage

Volume of coverage
The distribution of coverage can be viewed from alternate vantage points. Within the study population
as a whole as summarised in Table 4, Bukedde, one of the three dailies, published the largest number
of stories at 33.4%. The Observer, a tri-weekly newspaper and The Independent, a weekly magazine,
together contributed the smallest share of just fewer than 10% of all stories. It is worth noting that
compared to the other outlets, Bukedde stories tend to be short, which allows it to pack in more stories
than its competitors. As a result, only 31% of Bukedde stories provide the reader with adequate context,
the lowest of all the publications.

Table 4: Share of Overall Coverage

Publication Story Count Percent


Bukedde 10,259 33.4
Daily Monitor 9,810 31.9
New Vision 7,705 25.1
Observer 2,160 7.0
Independent 807 2.6
Total 30,741 100.0
*Based on census analysis

The trend in coverage over the three study phases shows some notable differences across the rounds.
At the baseline phase, the number of stories peaked at the start of the financial year in July and August
and sharply fell thereafter. In other words, public affairs coverage was very episodic. During Round
2, the number of stories still peaked in July and August, but declined less sharply afterwards and
in fact picked up steadily in the 3rd & 4th quarters. Media attention on public affairs was becoming
less episodic. Coverage during Round 3 was generally consistent all through the months, as Figure 1
indicates.

8
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Figure 1: Trend in Coverage Across Study Rounds

*Based on census analysis

Impact of Elections on Volume of Reporting


The 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections appear to have had a mixed impact on the volume
of public affairs coverage across publications. Nomination of candidates & subsequent campaigns
dominated public discourse in the later part of 2015 & January 2016. Then the elections happened
in February 2016, followed by controversy and a Supreme Court petition regarding the results
announced. As a result, Bukedde’s coverage rose dramatically during the period. Similar trends hold
for Daily Monitor, The Independent, and The Observer. Conversely, New Vision coverage fell dramatically
in January, remained low in February and started picking up in March, the month after the elections
as figure 3 shows.

Figure 2: Round 3 Trend in Coverage by Publication Over the Year

During January and


February 2006 when the
volume of New Vision’s
public affairs coverage
reduced, the dominant
issue was people and
power, given the elections
going on then. New Vision
did not throw itself into
the topic as much as the
other publications, leading
to lower public affairs
*Based on census analysis coverage overall by the
newspaper.

9
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Coverage of Issues and Topics


More than half (53%) of the stories as captured in the census (see Figure 2) were about two issues:
‘justice, law & order’ (28.6%) and ‘people and power2’ (24.6%). The ‘energy and extractives’ sector was
the least reported followed in ascending order by ‘defence and security,’ ‘agriculture,’ and ‘public
works and infrastructure.

Figure 2: Share of Coverage by Issue

*Based on census analysis

The ACME research team convened a validation meeting with journalists and civil society members to
understand to explore the context that leads to results such as this imbalance in coverage. We learnt
that the major driver of coverage of the justice, law and order sector, is easy access to courts and case
files. “It doesn’t require a lot of investment from the editor. You just send a reporter to the court and
they’ll come back with a story,” explained Joan Akello, a journalist with Power FM. The emphasis on
people and power, is also not surprising considering that the period included a general election, and
related electioneering political activities.

Nonetheless, the low editorial priority given to certain key issues is concerning. Agriculture is the
largest employer nationally, with 36% of workers in the country being employed by the sector3. It
is therefore concerning that in news media, it is one of the least reported. Similarly, in the five years
ending with 2015/16, the government spent UGX7.4 trillion4 on construction of roads and other
transport, making it 2nd biggest expense after general public administration. That public works and
infrastructure is the least covered issue, in print media, is therefore puzzling.

2 People and power’, an issue of study added at the 3rd round of the research, refers to stories that concerned themselves
with, or originated from, the exercise of popular, constitutional, legislative, and political power. That includes political
contestations as well as citizens’ interaction with their representatives or people with political authority.

3 Uganda National Household Survey 2016/17 by Uganda Bureau of Statistics

4 2016 Statistical Abstract by Uganda Bureau of Statistics

10
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

The Election Effect


In the electioneering months of January and February 2016, there was a predictable skew towards
‘people and power’ stories. Bukedde dedicated 42% of its January and February coverage to people and
power stories, doing 732 stories, New Vision did 258 people and power stories, representing 27% of its
coverage in that time. As Figure 3 illustrates, all the other publications dedicated a larger proportion
of their coverage to people and power stories than New Vision did. Figure 3: Issue focus during the
election period by publication

Figure 3: Topics Covered During Election Period

*Based on census analysis

Imbalance Within Coverage of Issues


’The third round of the research project (July 2015 – June 2016) afforded an opportunity to add a new
layer of detail to the analysis of public affairs coverage. Beyond generically identifying the public
affairs covered, data was collected on the specific topics as outlined in Annex 6.

Reporting on a number of sectors tends to dwell heavily on a single topic within that sector. For
instance, 67% of reporting on ‘land, housing and settlements’ is about land itself, neglecting other
topics like urbanisation, physical planning, and management of the sector. More than half (58%) of the
reporting on public works and infrastructure is about roads. Coverage of the ‘justice, law and order’
sector, the most covered issue, overwhelmingly dwelt on criminal justice and the police. More than
half of the reporting on ‘people and power’ was about political and democratic processes, no doubt an
effect of the election season. Over half of the coverage on ‘agriculture’ was about crops. Half of stories
on ‘energy and extractives’ were about energy particularly power or electricity. Half of the coverage
on ‘foreign affairs’ was about international matters unrelated to the East African sub-region and the
larger African region.

With foreign news, the further afield a matter is, the better its chances with foreign desks in Uganda.
Half of the foreign news is about the world beyond Africa, 37% is about Africa beyond East Africa, and
only 13% is on the East African Community, with management of foreign policy getting less than 1%
of the coverage. The breakdown of overall coverage by topic is summarised in Annex 6.

11
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

At the research validation meeting convened by ACME, two former editors (Charity Ahimbisibwe and
John Paul Wasswa) argued that the narrow focus on a few topics happens because editors find comfort
zones. Reporters in turn, try to appease their editors when selecting what events to cover and what
angles to tell the stories from. This is of concern because editors are also the newsroom people most
removed from the outside world. Their work schedules often do not allow them time off for external
engagements. “You get to work and have 8 pages to fill with content. The clock is always ticking for
an editor,” Ahimbisibwe said, drawing from her 10 years on the desk. So, “how do editors know what
the public wants to know about?” asked Francis Kibirige, the Uganda coordinator for Afrobarometer
Surveys.

If anything, the evidence suggests little relationship between the needs of the public and editors’ topic
preferences. For instance, the Afrobarometer surveys show that about 78% of Ugandans will have
contact with a public health centres in a given year. Yet, health reporting is just 7.8% of public affairs
coverage. In contrast, only about 24% of Ugandans will have contact with the police in a given year but
it is the most reported institution.

Reporting Formats
As the findings reported in Table 5 show, the bulk of Round 3 coverage (86.4%) was conventional
reporting. Enterprise and investigative stories jointly accounted for less than a quarter of the coverage.
Coverage by The Independent was split fairly between conventional (49.4%) and enterprise (45.7%)
reporting, while coverage by the other outlets was predominantly conventional (see Table 6).

Table 5: Distribution of Stories in Round 3 by Format

Reporting Format Story Count Percent


Conventional 2,658 86.4
Enterprise 318 10.3
Investigative 99 3.2
Total 3,075 100.0
*Based on analysis of the sample of 3,075 stories

Table 6: Distribution of Stories in Round 3 by Publication and Format

Story
Format Publication
Count
Bukedde Daily New The The Total
(n=1,026) Monitor Vision Observer Independent (N=3,075)
(n=981) (n=771) (n=216) (n=81)
Conventional 2,658 96.6% 83.2% 81.7% 83.8% 49.4% 86.4%
Enterprise and 318 3.2% 16.0% 8.0% 13.4% 45.7% 10.3%
interpretive
Investigative 99 0.2% 0.8% 10.2% 2.8% 4.9% 3.3%
*Based on analysis of the sample of 3,075 stories

12
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Between the baseline and Round 2 of the study, depth reporting (investigative, enterprise and
interpretive) increased from 23.3% of the coverage to 38.7%. However it declined significantly in
Round 3 of the study (July 2015 – June 2016) to 13.6% of the coverage (see Figure 4).

The sharp decline in investigative and interpretive reporting during FY2015/16, which also happened
to be an election year, deserves further interrogation. From July 2015, all through February when the
election period ended, the two reporting formats that represent depth coverage, were particularly
low. The excessive focus on nominations, campaigns and other election activities, the election period.
Excess focus on the procedural steps in electioneering: nominations, campaigns and voting, which are
often covered as events, led to less depth reporting. As already discussed, the elections also had an
impact on the volume of public affairs reporting — increasing it in most publications but reducing it
in New Vision.

Figure 4: Trend in Reporting Formats from Baseline to Round 3

*Based on census analysis

Figure 5: Trend in Depth Reporting Between July


2015 to June 2016

Of the 12 issues monitored in Round 3 of the


study, seven were tracked in the first two rounds
and are the ones on which the comparisons
in Table 7 are based. The same trends seen in
the general coverage are evident even when
looking at issue level reporting. Conventional
reporting has remained dominant and has
remained so, over the three rounds of the study,
whether one is looking at overall coverage or
coverage on a particular issue.

*Based on census analysis

13
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Table 7: Trend in Coverage by Reporting Format and Issue

BASELINE ROUND 2 ROUND 3


Issue CON % ENT % INV % CON % ENT % INV % CON % ENT % INV %

Agriculture 76.9 20.3 2.8 57.1 40.4 2.5 79.8 19.0 1.2
Education 80.7 14 5.2 54.8 36.4 8.8 87.4 9.3 3.3
Energy & extractives 66 25.1 8.9 60.9 27.8 11.3 72.2 16.7 11.1
Environment &
74.1 18.7 7.1 56.7 34.1 9.2 87.6 12.4 0.0
natural resources
Health 77.5 16.2 6.2 61.2 31.1 7.7 80.1 13.3 6.6
Justice, law & order 79.2 12.7 8.1 64.4 27.9 7.7 92.2 3.7 4.1
Public works &
78.8 13.9 7.3 56.8 25.9 17.3 90.1 6.6 3.3
infrastructure
*The baseline is based on census analysise; rounds 2 and 3 are based on sample analysis

Story Origins
Nearly half of the stories originated from three paths: journalists’ independent reporting, research or
investigation (17.1%); spontaneous newsworthy occurrences (17.1%); and news conferences (12.4%).
Data-driven stories were the fewest, with The Independent doing significantly more data-driven
reporting (5.9%) than any of its peers, as the results in Table 8 reveal.

Table 8: Origins of Public Affairs Stories

Daily New The The


Bukedde
STORY ORIGIN Monitor Vision Independent Observer Total
%
% % % %
Independent reporting, research or
20.9 18.6 6.9 34.3 34.3 17.1
investigation
Spontaneous newsworthy
21.4 22.9 10.1 17.6 5.3 17.1
occurrence
News conference 4.4 4.0 29.4 5.9 8.2 12.4
Other 23.8 10.5 0.3 0.0 2.9 10.4
Central government activity 6.7 12.6 9.1 5.9 12.7 9.6
Judicial activity 11.0 8.8 9.2 4.9 6.1 9.3
NGO or CSO activity 2.2 5.3 15.6 1.0 4.9 7.5
Material source e.g. document,
0.9 5.9 5.1 14.7 8.2 4.6
report, research, study
Company or business activity 3.8 4.3 1.7 2.9 10.2 3.7
Local government activity 3.5 3.0 4.7 0.0 1.2 3.5
Parliamentary activity 0.8 2.0 4.4 2.0 1.6 2.4

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

News release 0.7 1.9 2.6 4.9 3.3 2.0


Data 0.0 0.0 0.9 5.9 1.2 0.5
Total (no. of observations) 1,061 1,087 1,144 102 245 3,639
Cases (story count) 1,013 972 766 78 215 3,044
*Based on sample analysis

The vast majority of stories (78%) still come out of events or one-off activities as table 8 shows. Stories
that originate form independent reporting, data & material sources often lead to investigative &
enterprise reporting/story-telling as Figure 6 shows. Unfortunately, journalists rarely go to these story
sources in the first place. They currently account for just 22% of stories.

Figure 6: Reporting Format by Story Origin

*Based on census analysis

Shifts in Story Origin

The data allows some degree of comparison in patterns of story origin between the second and third
rounds of the project. Data on this variable was not collected during the baseline. In addition, some
new categories were introduced in Round 3, which were not included in Round 2. The comparison
between both rounds is portrayed in Figure 7.

There was a decrease in independent reporting, as well as coverage of parliament and central
government activities in favour of spontaneous news events, activities by non-government actors and
elections-related proceedings like party primaries, nominations and the campaigns.

15
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Figure 7: Shifts in Story origins between Round 2 (July


The number of stories from
2014 – June 2015) and Round 3 (July 2015 to June 2016 parliamentary proceedings
declined in Round 3 (July 2015
to June 2016). Political journalists
instead focused on pre-election
activities such as party primaries,
nomination of candidates and their
subsequent campaigns in the last
quarter of 2015 and first quarter of
2016.

While it is still rare, data-driven


reporting went from 1 in 1,000 stories
in Round 2, to 1 in 200 in Round
3. It is a notable shift because as
shown in Figure 7, stories that start
with data analysis tend to employ
depth (interpretive/enterprise and
investigative) reporting.)

*Based on census analysis

16
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Prominence in Figure 8: Prominence of Public Affairs Stories by Page Location


Coverage
As expected, given that every
newspaper edition has only
the one front page is but
one page, the bulk of public
affairs coverage appears on
the inside pages. In Round 3,
there was a marked rise in the
percentage of public affairs
stories on the front page but
that can be explained by the
inclusion of issue categories
that hadn’t been tracked
before: defence and security
as well as people and power.
*Based on census analysis
Both frequently make front-
page news.

There are no noticeable differences between publications in terms of page positioning for public affairs
stories. However, there are noticeable differences in the page positioning of specific public affairs
issues, as the evidence from Round 3 of the research suggests. The results presented in Table 10 indicate
that stories on ‘defence and security’ made the most appearance on the front pages. This is intriguing
considering that defence and security was among the least covered stories. In fact, only one other issue
– energy and extractives – was covered less frequently. The fact that ‘defence and security’ as well
‘energy and extractives’ made front page news more than any other issue despite the relatively scarce
reporting implies although editors consider these issues important, they are not investing enough in
covering them regularly.

Table 10: Prominence of Public Affairs Stories by Page Location


Issue Front Page % Inside Page % Total
Defence and security 23.2 76.8 729
People and power 20.4 79.6 7,960
Energy and extractives 14.6 85.4 446
Education 11.5 88.5 1,996
Justice, law and order 11.3 88.7 8,946
Health 10.3 89.7 2,315
Foreign affairs 10.1 89.9 1,728
Business and economy 9.8 90.2 2,805
Public works and infrastructure 9.4 90.6 1,016
Lands, housing and settlements 5.7 94.3 978
Environment and natural resources 5.1 94.9 871
Agriculture 4.7 95.3 951
Total 13.1 (n=4,029) 86.9 (n=26,712) 30,741
*Based on census analysis

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Agriculture, which is covered little (in number of stories), is also not prioritised in page placement.
Only 1 in 200 agriculture stories ever make the front page. Instead, stories are confined to special
weekly sections inside the newspaper, which themselves focus on mostly on crop farming, neglecting
other kinds of farm business & the rest of the agricultural value chain. For a sector that is the biggest
employer in the country, one would expect it to get more mainstream coverage than is currently the
case.

Confining coverage to a special inside section, rather than mainstream coverage, also affects reporting
on business and the economy. While sector specific desks can compel a newsroom to dedicate resources
towards covering that issue, confining the stories produced by those desks to a particular section of
the paper or bulletin, belies the fact that these issues in fact affect, and should therefore be of interest
to the wider audience.

Figure 9: Issue Placement Beyond the Front Page

*Based on census analysis

In the second and third rounds of the research, prominence was also reviewed based on the page
positioning or page ranking of public affairs stories. Prominence in this case was determined by
comparing the position of an article relative to other stories appearing on the same page, with a focus
on the top three articles classified as first, second, and third leads. The trend depicted in Figure 10 is
consistent from Round 2 to Round 3 (data on this measure was not gathered for the baseline), whereby
public affairs stories are normally run as the main stories on the pages on which they appear.

18
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Figure 10: Trend in Prominence of Public


Affairs Stories by Page Positioning
Context in Coverage

Stories were rated on a scale of 1 (poor) to


5 (excellent) for the extent to which they
provided meaningful perspective and relevant
background to help the reader fully understand
the topic covered? Just over half of the stories
sampled (54%) were found to have adequate
context. Only a minority (6%) provided no
context at all. (see Figure 11).

Daily Monitor (68.8%) and New Vision (74.6%)


had the greatest proportions of their stories
with adequate context. Bukedde (31.0%) had the
fewest stories with adequate context, otherwise
the majority of its stories had either some (35.6%)
or limited (19.0%) context.

*Based on census analysis

Figure 11: Context Provided in Public Affairs Figure 12: Context Provided by Publication*
Stories

*Based on sample analysis

*Based on census analysis

19
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Framing of Issues
Every article selected sampled was scrutinised to determine the dominant frame(s) behind it. A ‘frame’
is the underlying narrative through which a story is told. Frames are neither issue-specific nor unique
to particular topics. They cut across different issues. A typical story could bear more than one frame,
so up to three could recorded for each story analysed in the study. Their relative dominance in a story
was ranked from first to third in descending order of the weight they carried in the story.

As Table 11 shows, ‘rights and rule of law’ is the narrative most frequently invoked in storytelling
about public affairs in Uganda. This is followed by the ‘livelihood and human development’ frame,
then ‘governance.

Table 11: Incidence of Frames in Public Affairs Coverage*

Public Affairs Frames Frequency Percent


Rights and rule of law 1,318 23.2
Livelihood and human development 820 14.4
Governance 728 13.0
Service delivery and consumer affairs 570 10.0
Authority 524 9.2
Oversight and accountability 509 9.0
Professionalism, ethics and integrity 349 6.1
Entrepreneurship 301 5.3
Human, physical and natural hazards 243 4.3
Foreign and international relations 232 4.1
Science and innovation 81 1.4
Total 5,675 100.0

*Based on sample coverage


On a macro level, the distribution of frames across issues reveals some degree of alignment between
certain types of issues and frames (see Annex 7). Predictably, the ‘authority’ and ‘governance’ frames
are the most pervasive in the coverage of ‘people and power’ issues; and so is the ‘entrepreneurship’
frame in coverage of ‘business and economy;’ the ‘foreign and international relations’ frame in coverage
of ‘foreign affairs;’ the ‘livelihood and human development’ as well as ‘service delivery and consumer
affairs’ frames in coverage of health; the ‘rights and rule of law’ frame in coverage of justice, law and
order.

The ‘rights and rule of law’ frame (56.0%) dominated the coverage of ‘justice, law and order’ which
was the most widely reported public affairs issue.

20
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Sourcing Effort
Over time, as the results summarised in Figure 10 indicate, the number of sources per story has
generally ranged between one and three sources from baseline to Round 3. The results show a fairly
steady trend in stories with four or five sources. Round 3 recorded a substantial increase in stories
with five or more sources, although stories with five or more sources were still fewer than a quarter
of all stories over the three research rounds. Having dropped from 7% at the baseline to 2% in Round
2, stories with five or more sources rose up to 11.7% in Round 3. Troublingly, though, there has been
a steady rise in the proportion of unsourced stories. The baseline found no stories without a source.
Unsourced stories made up 3% of the Round 2 sample, butand has since risenrose to 6.2% of in the
Round 3 sample. It is unclear why stories without sources are on the rise.

Ideally, the proportion of stories that quote zero, one or two sources ought to decrease. In the three
years studied, the reverse has happened. Similarly, the proportion of multi-sourced stories (three or
more sources) has decreased. Although stories that quote five or more sources have increased from 7%
when the study was first conducted in 2013/2014 to 11% now, it hardly counts as a trend because in
Round 2 they had fallen to 2%.

Figure 13: Number of Sources per Story* Type of Sources


Between July 2015 and June 2016, 97% percent
of the sources were human, with documentary
sources comprising a tiny fraction. This finding
is also born out in our discussion on reporting
formats which indicates that conventional
reporting is most dominant. Journalists rely
heavily on the words of human sources and
rarely consult documentary sources to verify
or back up the claims made to them by the
people they speak to. Often, even what should
be investigative journalism, is merely access
journalism. The revelations in investigative pieces
are often attributed to a reclusive (sometimes
anonymous) source that the journalist happened
to have access to, rather than the reporter’s own
digging into documents and other material
sources. This approach to sourcing implies that
journalists and editors have little confidence in
their own agenda setting power.

*Based on sample coverage

21
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Table 12: Type of Source*

Type of Source Number Percent


Human 7,470 97.4
Documentary 202 2.6
Total 7,672 100.0
*Based on sample coverage

One-third of the 202 documentary sources quoted in the coverage related to ‘justice, law and order’.
‘Business and economy’ (13.9%) as well as ‘people and power’ (12.9) were second and third, in that
order (see Table 16). At the bottom in consulting documentary sources is reporting on agriculture,
public works and the extractives sector.

As pointed out by at least two journalists at the validation meeting convened by the research team,
court records are already openly accessible. This encourages both overall coverage of the justice, law
and order sector as well as the use of material sourcing the related reporting. Similarly, big business,
sector regulators and other stakeholders publish widely available reports on economic activity.

On the contrary, editors have pointed out in previous research rounds that official information on
the extractives sector is hard to come by. This dampens both overall coverage and the use of material
sources on these issues. The same may apply to public works.

Nonetheless, more editorial drive towards sourcing from documents can improve these figures across
the board. For example: while official information on government agricultural efforts may be hard to
come by, the sector is still widely researched by other stakeholders like NGOs whose information is in
the public domain.

Table 13: Documentary Sourcing by Issue*

Issue Documentary Sources Percent


Justice, law and order 62 30.7
Business and economy 28 13.9
People and power 26 12.9
Land, housing and settlements 17 8.4
Foreign affairs 15 7.4
Health 15 7.4
Education 12 5.9
Defence and security 7 3.5
Environment and natural resources 7 3.5
Energy and extractives 5 2.5
Agriculture 4 2.0
Public works and infrastructure 4 2.0
Total 202 100.0
*Based on sample analysis

22
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Who Gets to Speak?

Voice & Representation by Gender


By tracking the use of human sources in reporting on public affairs, the research sought to identify the
specific individuals who appeared in public affairs stories as sources of information either by being
quoted directly, cited, or having information attributed to them. The individuals were classified by
both their gender and in 22 ‘role categories.’ A list of these role categories - either professional or
personal capacities – is provided in Annex 8 with a breakdown of their distribution in the sample.

The study allowed us to examine how gender played out in sourcing for information and perspectives
in the coverage of these issues. As the results in Table 15 show, 80% of the sources featured were male.
Sourcing from women is a vital element of inclusive journalism. However, it has stagnated at around
20% of all sources in the all three years of the study. In the third round, only about 3 in 10 stories cite
or quote women at all as sources of information.

Table 15: Human Sourcing by Gender

Human Sourcing Number Percent


Male sources 5,973 80.0
Female sources 1,497 20.0
Total 7,470 100.0
Based on sample analysis

The results reveal that male voices are heard more frequently across all voice categories (see
Table 16 and Annex 9).

Power & Representation


The 22 common roles that sources play in public affairs stories can be collapsed into seven voices based
on their power functions in society as described below:

1. “State authorities” are sources who perform executive and government functions, broadly
defined, on behalf of the state at different levels including central and local government ministries,
departments, agencies, and statutory bodies.

2. “Political actors” are sources who are involved in elective and non-elective organised politics on
behalf of political organisations, constituencies, and interest groups.

3. “Ordinary citizens” are sources in their individual capacities who may have appeared in stories
as a result of personal grievances, interests or concerns unrelated to their social status or official
occupational functions, including people cited as affected persons or victims, perpetrators, or
people on the street;

4. “Civic actors” are sources who perform non-governmental and non-profit functions in civil society,
broadly defined, on behalf of a whole of roles and interests: professional, faith-based, voluntary,
cultural, academic, etc.

23
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

5. “Commercial actors” are sources involved in profit-oriented endeavours as business people or


entrepreneurs in the formal and informal sectors of the economy at all levels as small, medium,
and large domestic and international enterprises.

6. “International actors” are sources performing diplomatic and international roles on behalf of
Uganda in foreign countries or as representatives of other countries’ diplomatic and international
interests at the sub-regional, regional and international levels both bilaterally and multi-laterally.

7. “Others” are sources too unique to be subsumed under the specified categories including the
anonymous or unknown.

Table 16 gives a breakdown of the sources as voices represented in coverage of public affairs in Round
3. The results indicate that state authorities (37.6%) have a bigger voice than anybody else. Annex
9 provides the detailed composition of each source/voice category also disaggregated by gender.
Among the state authorities, central government representatives (26%) get to speak more often than
other sources in the same category. Among political actors, politicians or political operatives get 78.4%.
Among ordinary citizens, affected persons or victims get 57.2%; among civic actors, experts get 36.3%;
among international actors, international NGO representatives get 56.3%.

Table 16: Prevalence of Sources/Voices Represented in Coverage

Source/Voice by Societal Function Frequency Percent Male % Female %


State authorities 2809 37.6 84.0 16.0
Political actors 1479 19.8 80.2 19.8
Ordinary citizens 1136 15.2 67.1 32.9
Civic actors 1060 14.2 83.7 16.3
Commercial actors 568 7.6 82.6 17.4
International actors 277 3.7 78.3 21.7
Other 141 1.9 65.2 34.8
Total 7470 100.0
*Based on sample analysis

Who are the Newsmakers?


In exploring the people who made the news — people who individually or collectively were the reason
for the coverage — the study identified individuals or groups who performed actions important to the
story or were the subject of a substantial amount of the coverage. We recorded the identity of the given
newsmaker or capacity in which he/she appeared in the story. It was anticipated that a typical story
could cover more than one newsmaker, so we recorded up to a maximum of five by indicating their
respective identities and genders.

As with sources and voices, the study found that authority figures (81%), those who were covered
in their occupational or official capacities, were the dominant newsmakers compared to ordinary
newsmakers (19%), those who were covered in their individual or personal capacities as regular people
(see Figure 14).

24
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Figure 14: Authority vs Ordinary Newsmakers

When ordinary people made news, it was


primarily as affected people or victims (56%)
followed by ‘perpetrators’ (38%) and those
categorised as neutral roles in 6% of the instances
when ordinary people make news.

Among authority figures, politicians and political


operatives make news most often. Central
government representatives come second, and
military figures last.

*Based on sample analysis

Table 18: Authority Newsmakers’ Share of Coverage

Percent observations Percent cases/


Newsmaker Frequency
(n=5,981) stories (n=3,075)
Politician or political operatives 1,152 19.3 37.5
Central government representative 650 10.9 21.1
Business representative 506 8.5 16.5
Local government personnel 469 7.8 15.3
Law enforcement representative 435 7.3 14.1
Expert 331 5.5 10.8
Minister 311 5.2 10.1
Judicial personnel 310 5.2 10.1
Member of Parliament 301 5.0 9.8
Civil society/Local NGO representative 291 4.9 9.5
President 291 4.9 9.5
Religious representative 207 3.5 6.7
Other 195 3.3 6.3
Diplomatic representative 153 2.6 5.0
International NGO representative 146 2.4 4.7
Cultural representative 117 2.0 3.8
Military/security representative 107 1.8 3.5
Vice President 9 0.2 0.3
Based on sample analysis

25
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Gender Representations among Authority Newsmakers


Of the authority figures who make the news, 83% are men. A gender imbalance is observed across
all categories of these newsmakers as Figure 15 illustrates. The only categories in which female
newsmakers were present to an appreciable degree were Members of Parliament (34.3%), international
NGO representatives (31.2%), and local civil society/NGO representatives (29.4%), as the findings
reported in Table 19 demonstrate.

Figure 15: Authority Newsmakers by Gender

Based on sample analysis

Institutions Making the News


In addition to examining the people who generated the news, the study also explored the institutions
that drove coverage. These were defined as entities (body corporate) that performed actions important
to the story or were the subject of a substantial amount of the coverage. It was expected that a typical
story could feature more than one institution; we therefore coded up to five as applicable. According to
the findings summarised in Table 20, central government organs (28.4%) generated the most coverage
overall and across all publications followed by political parties/organisations (14.0%), the private
sector/business (10.4%) and the judiciary (9.9%).

26
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Table 19: Institutional Newsmakers by Publication

Daily New The The


Bukedde
Institution Monitor Vision Independent Observer Total
%
% % % %
Central government organ 29.7 31.9 23.4 26.3 25.2 28.4
Political party/organisation 14.4 14.7 12.2 13.7 16.1 14.0
Private sector or business 10.5 13.2 3.6 16.8 21.1 10.4
Judiciary 10.4 8.4 12.2 5.3 7.3 9.9
Local government organ 8.3 7.9 9.4 1.1 1.8 7.8
Other 12.6 7.4 0.4 5.3 1.8 6.9
State-owned enterprise or
5.8 6.8 5.5 10.5 15.6 6.7
parastatal
Indigenous NGO or private
5.5 2.0 10.3 1.1 3.7 5.4
organisation
International public
1.2 2.4 10.9 7.4 1.8 4.3
organisation
International NGO or private
0.9 2.8 6.4 5.3 2.3 3.1
organisation
Parliament 0.7 2.5 5.9 7.4 3.2 3.0
Total (no. of observations) 1,147 1,,155 929 95 218 3,544
Cases (story count) 1,019 973 766 80 214 3,052
Based on sample analysis

27
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Case Study Analysis of Data Stories


Data journalism is still rare in Ugandan journalism but interest in the speciality is picking up. The
second round of this study found that only 1 in 1000 stories originated from data analysis by the
reporter but the third round finds that has increased to 1 in 200 stories. The research team qualitatively
analysed the few data stories found in the sample and picked six cases studies that represent common
approaches and mistakes in the use of data in storytelling by Ugandan public affairs journalists. The
aim of the case analyses below is to provide guidance to journalists adopting data driven storytelling,
on the common pitfalls to avoid.

Case Study 1: Mobile Money Data Reporting & Enterprise


Reporting Format: Conventional
Transactions are Soaring at
While appearing before parliament, an executive
Shs38 Trillion of the Uganda Communications Commission
New Vision, April 19th 2016, Page 39 presented a report that touched on volume of
mobile money transactions, number of letters
going through the post office, TV customers
who had migrated from analogue to digital TV
sets and telecom customers who complain to the
commission. This story reproduces data related
to all these sections of the report. The headline
and first nine paragraphs focus on the mobile
money transactions, indicating that this was
thought to be the strongest angle. However, it
subsequently runs over all the other contents of
the report.

The result is an article that is heavy on numbers


but weak on storytelling. Ideally, data should
serve a story or lead to one, rather than be
the story itself. In practice, many data stories
fall short by being “reports on data”, rather
than stories that resulted from data reporting.
They are the data journalism equivalent of
reproducing the contents of a press release. This
story exemplifies that shortcoming.

Accuracy in Use, Interpretation & Analysis


of Data
The journalist relies on the data as it was in
the UCC report, and that way largely avoids
introducing his or her own inaccuracies.
However, in the opening paragraph, the story
states that the reported Shs 38.7 trillion going
through the mobile money system is almost
twice the year’s national budget of Shs22 trillion.
This is inaccurate when you remember that we

28
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

are talking about trillion. Double the national but also as a storytelling technique, to break up
budget of that year would be Shs 44 trillion. chunks of heavy and hard to process data, for
the reader.
A figure, which is more than 5 trillion off the mark
isn’t nearly there. Additionally, the comparison The graphic that accompanies the story illustrates
is a case of apples and oranges. The Shs38.7 a common shortcoming in communicating data:
trillion refers to transactions (money velocity) decorative but inaccurate visualisations. The
while the national budget refers to actual funds. blocks used to show the trend in mobile money
As the story later reveals, the actual funds held transaction volumes from year to year are not to
in mobile money accounts are far less: 302.6 scale. For instance, there was a difference of 6.9
billion, at the time. The data journalist has to trillion in mobile money transactions between
pay attention to the definitions of the data they 2012 and 2013. Between 2014 and 2015, the
are writing about, and not just their numerical increase was 14.7 trillion. On the graphic the
values. difference in height between the 2012 and 2013
blocks is bigger than 2014 and 2015 difference.
Visualisation & Storytelling with Data The graphic essentially turns the picture upside
down.
Not to overwhelm audiences, data journalists
ought to use numbers judiciously. Numbers This story could have benefitted from focus,
should not be included simply because the human sourcing and accuracy. The writer could
journalist has them. Rather, they should serve have chosen to focus on mobile money alone,
the narrative or help the audience gain a better leaving the extraneous details on letters, digital
understanding of the issues in the story. In this TV, etc., as material for separate stories. Even
story, the journalist often gives the reader data within the mobile money story, the writer could
for no other reason except that it was in the have been more judicious in picking which
report. numbers to present the reader with, and instead
expanded the story with human voices that
Take this sentence: “UCC attributes the increase provide understanding on why these numbers
to the number of mobile money subscribers matter, if they do.
which also had grown by 0.02% up from 19.5
million in June to 19.9 million in September.” A Lastly, newsrooms should invest in ensuring that
less number-heavy way to state the same could their design teams understand the importance
be: About 400,000 people signed up for mobile of accuracy in communicating data and in fact
money between June & September. However, have the skills and tools to produce accurate
the writer also has to consider whether or not a data visualisations.
0.02% increase is something to write home about.
If it isn’t, omitting the whole sentence would do
the story no harm but spare the reader an extra
three figures to process.

The storytelling falls short on a critical aspect


of data journalism: humanising the context of
the numbers. No mobile money user, agent or
telecom operator is interviewed for the story.
The only person referred to is the same UCC
executive who presented the report to parliament.
Humanising data stories is important both as a
journalism ideal (news should be about people)

29
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Case Study 2: Poll Battles Erupt First, a +/- 5 margin of error also means stated
The Independent, Jan 22-28, 2016, Cover support for any one of the candidates, including
story Museveni’s, could be higher or lower. This belies
the definitiveness with which the reporter claims
it would fall. Second, it shouldn’t be applied
in a cherry-picking manner. It applies to the
entire study’s findings. It’s also confusing as to
why these scenarios are being painted. Weeks
to the election, the scenarios seem divorced
from reality, since none of the candidates had
considered stepping out of the race.

Visualisation and Storytelling with Data

Data Reporting and Enterprise


Reporting Format: Enterprise and Interpretative

A few weeks to the presidential elections, two


polls whose findings varied considerably were
released to the public. A New Vision in-house
poll put President Museveni’s popularity at 70%
of the vote while another by Research World
International (RWI) put it at 51%. The results for
popularity of the other candidates also varied.
This reporter set out to audit the veracity of each
poll and did a good job of it. He describes their
results and methods as well as the track record The story is accompanied by five visualisations:
of each of the pollsters. The premise of this story a pie chart and four column graphs. They are
— questioning the data, rather than merely accurately drawn to scale and show interesting
reporting on it — is commendable. In choosing contrast in the popularity of the two main
this entry point, the reporter tells the readers candidates with variations in voters’ education
more on why they should or shouldn’t trust the levels, residence, and incomes. However their
data. placement on the page detracts from their power
to communicate. They are clustered together, in
Accuracy in Use, Analysis and their own column on the page. A more effective
Interpretation of Data way to use visualisations is to place the chart or
The reporter quotes the numbers as they appear graph, right where the text related to it is, and
in the report and that way avoids introducing to disperse them within the article such that they
his own inaccuracies. However, in building help break up text.
hypothetical race scenarios (Museveni vs Besigye
alone, Museveni vs Mbabazi alone), he interprets The text of the story also includes a dizzying
‘margin of error’ in a manner that is convenient array of numbers especially when the writer is
for the narrative, but inaccurate. For instance, he painting hypothetical race scenarios. A simple
says, “…when one considers the +/-5 error margin, chart grid (see example to the top) is easier for
in a contest with Mbabazi, Museveni’s 57% falls to the reader to process, than a block of text with
52%, in which case he would return as president. Yet several numbers.
in a contest with Besigye, Museveni’s 53% falls to
48% in which case he would be forced into a rerun.”

30
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Case Study 3: The sickening cost rates at the time. The reporting also includes a
of killer non-infectious diseases number of expert voices but lacks patient voices
and experiences.
in Uganda
The Observer, March 21-22, 2016 Accuracy in Use, Interpretation and
Analysis of Data
The data is mostly descriptive of the cost of
health care. No analysis or interpretation is done,
but this doesn’t take away from the story. It still
meets its evident goal of informing the reader
about expected personal expenses regarding
non-infectious diseases.

Visualisation and Storytelling with Data


Eight data tables accompany the story. Given
that most of the data is expressed in ranges and
comparison between categories is necessary
and would not have been appropriate, tables
Data Reporting and Enterprise are a good choice for communicating the data.
The placement of the tables on the page is
Reporting Format: Enterprise and Interpretive also appropriate with each one accompanying
the section of text it relates to. This simple
This special report is a well-reported and presentation is a departure from a common
balanced story. It is an expose on what an mistake page designers make: clustering all the
individual Ugandan patient spends when data visualisations in a section of their own. The
afflicted with cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, writer also left a lot of the numbers out of the
hypertension, epilepsy, mental and substance text, instead only mentioning the categories of
abuse disorders, and asthma. The reporter makes costs associated with each disease. Leaving text
commendable effort to establish the various costs as numbers-free as possible is also a good choice.
associated with each of these diseases and their

31
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Case Study 4: 55% prisoners not tried, says report


Daily Monitor, October 1, 2015

Data Reporting and Enterprise:


However, even in this narrative, the writer
Reporting Format: Conventional throws in an unnecessary number of figures.
On congestion, for example: “The research
The Independent Development Fund together conducted by AH Consulting looked at 253
with AH Consulting surveyed 253 prisons in prisons originally designed for 16,517 prisoners.
Uganda and, among other results, found that However, there were 40,650 prisoners, with
55% of the inmates were awaiting trial, and the 24,133 persons in excess of holding capacity. …
prisons held 2.5 times more prisoners than they There are 2.5 prisoners in every space meant for
were designed for. This story was motivated 1 prisoner in Uganda”. Quite a few of the figures
by the report from that exercise. It details the here can be omitted without harming the story
findings and adds a reaction from the Uganda because they all get to the simple observation
Prisons spokesperson. It also included opinion that the prisons visited held more than double
on justice administration in the country from a their capacity of inmates. Secondly, in natural
human rights lawyer and a local government speech, as expected in mass media, there is no
leader. While it is a conventionally reported such thing as 2.5 prisoners. When researchers
story, the sourcing is well rounded. write such unnatural language, the journalist
should paraphrase it. Third, numbers don’t have
Accuracy in Use, Analysis and to be quoted to the last digit. For a more natural
Interpretation of Data flow for the audience, journalists should around
The data is directly quoted from the report. There off the figures and if necessary qualify them with
is no evidence that the reporter introduced any terms like over, under and nearly. In this case —
inaccuracies. However, she also doesn’t appear designed for about 16,500, the prisons now hold
to have done any further analysis of her own. more than 40,000 inmates.

Visualisation and Storytelling with Data


No visualisations accompanies the story but
they aren’t always necessary, especially in cases
such as this story, which is premised on only
two data points.

32
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Case Study 5: Kamwenge gets somehow responsible for the status of the given
clean water project sector, for which they are stating the statistic.
Like the old adage goes: trust but verify.
New Vision, July 20, 2015
Accuracy in the Use, Analysis and
Interpretation of Data
The veracity of the data used in the story is
brought into question by the fact that the primary
data sources aren’t quoted.

Visualisation and Storytelling with Data


The data is well written into the narrative of
the story. It is neither obstructive nor excessive.
Instead, it moves the narrative along, often
introducing a new revelation about the
community. For instance, in one case, data is
used to demonstrate the cost of low safe water
coverage from the perspective of an individual
community member. In another case, the data
pans out to speak to the extent of the problem
at sub-county level. The story isn’t accompanied
by a visualisation but one wasn’t necessary.

Data Reporting and Enterprise


Reporting Format: Conventional

In mid-July 2015, Water for People, an NGO,


launched a water project. This story is a report
from that launch and includes a good dose of
data. However, this data is either not attributed
to a source (e.g. “according to 2014 statistics”)
or quoted from an individual (e.g. “since 2005,
access to improved water sources has increased
from 61% to 64 in rural areas…” Kamuntu said).

It’s just as important to properly quote data


sources as it is for any other kind of information
in the story. Additionally, when a person states
a data point, the journalist should verify it and
quote its primary source instead of the person.
People frequently make up statistics. That’s even
more likely if the person stating the statistics is

33
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Case Study 6: Pregnancy more example is the seemingly evergreen fodder of


risky for shorter women research on the health benefits of alcohol.

The Independent, August 28 – September 03,


2015. By Agencies

Journalistic reporting on scientific research must


be sceptical, especially when the findings are
sensational. In the least, the reporter should look
for reaction from other scientists (see above for
some reactions to this particular study). In fact,
with sensational but technical studies, whose
veracity the journalist might not be able to judge,
it is often more useful to report on the debate
Data Reporting and Enterprise surrounding them than to reproduce their
findings in mass media.
Reporting Format: Conventional
Accuracy in Use, Analysis and
In mid-2015, US researchers published a journal Interpretation of Data
article in PLOS Medicine, stating that a mother’s The headline of the story gives the impression
height had a direct impact on how long her that shorter women are at risk of delivering
pregnancy lasts. This story reports these findings premature babies. However, neither the journal
and includes some additional data on premature article nor the researcher quoted made that
births in Uganda. The only aspect of the study’s inference. In fact, the study speaks about a small
methods that the story mentions is sample size. effect between maternal height and gestation
However, it documents the findings to great length. “Each increase of 1 cm in height,
detail even when an editorial note on the study translated to about 0.4 gestational days,” it
journal article calls its evidence weak. says. So if one woman was an improbable full
foot shorter (30.48 cm) than another, she might
The reporting for this story has a common deliver 12 days earlier. On the other hand, the
mistake journalists make regarding scientific range of days within which pregnancies are
research: lack of criticism, which in turn gives considered full term (37 to 40 weeks) is nearly
the reader the impression (often, false) that the double that.
research is truth. It’s easy to assume that once
a research study appears in a peer-reviewed Visualisation and Storytelling with Data
journal, it is reliable and significant enough Generally, the data is well written into the
to be amplified to the general public. In fact, narrative of the story, with new data points
many published scientific research studies are either furthering the narrative or expanding
dubiously far from the scientific consensus the reader’s perspective on the chosen premise:
in their fields. For instance, one can still find preterm pregnancy.
published research to support anti-vaccination
efforts, climate change denials, etc. Another

34
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Conclusion
There is considerable newsroom interesting in covering public affairs. In a typical week the five
newspapers studied collectively publish nearly 600 stories on matters in the public interest. However,
editors need to be more deliberate about balancing coverage across the whole array of public affairs,
rather than focusing on a few issues. One of the major findings is that many public affairs issues,
such as energy, environment & natural resources, agriculture, lands, housing & settlements, as well
as public works and infrastructure, which are the subject of significant attention by the government,
attract inadequate or low media attention. It is unclear why this disconnect persists as a result of it
the public may not be getting adequate information about sectors that are very important to their
very survival and which take a bulk of the government’s budget while on the other hand critical
areas of public affairs are not subjected to adequate scrutiny. In any case, even for the sectors that are
covered more frequently, it appears journalists pay little attention to policy. If newsrooms adopted the
practice of doing periodic internal research, such as the content analysis in this study, editors would
see imbalances in their coverage and correct course accordingly.

The enduring dearth of enterprise and investigative stories (despite a small increase in Round 2)
undermines the power of the media to set the agenda as well as hold power to account.

Similarly, the predominance of event-based as opposed to issue-based reporting means media coverage
does not always offer the critical perspectives that would come from more reflection and research.
Very many of the things that government does (or does not do) are not questioned and as a result
citizens may not have adequate information to help them understand what the government is doing
(or not doing) in their name.

The predominance of the ‘rights and rule of law’ arguably suggests that years of civil society, opposition
and donor attention on it has trumped other frames such as “livelihood & human development” as well
as service delivery, which some argue are more important for citizens/voters in the way they evaluate
government e.g at election times.5 These two frames followed ‘rights and rule of law’ in that order.
The “oversight and accountability” has also received considerable attention from the government,
opposition, civil society and donors and not surprisingly it is among the top five frames identified.

On multiple sourcing, it’s a mixed bag. Although the use of five and above sources increased, there
was a fall in the frequency of three to five sources. Overall, however, today’s journalists offer far more
time and space to a variety of sources than their predecessors did. All three rounds of the research
have confirmed that officialdom (especially state authorities and political actors) still dominate the
news in terms of sourcing. Issues and narratives that such sources privilege easily overshadow those
of ‘ordinary’ sources. Similarly, there is an over reliance on human sources whose claims are rarely
verified or backed up by material sources.

Editors have to take up intellectual leadership by demanding more from their reporters regarding
sourcing. More sources. More diversity in the sources quoted. More verification of source claims
against documents.

5 An Afrobarometer study on Uganda in recent years (or consistently) suggests that when asked what is the most
important problem facing the country, most Ugandans cite bread and butter issues not the abstract but important issues of
human rights and rule of law.

35
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Annexes:
ANNEX 1: CHANGES IN VARIABLE STRUCTURE
ROUND 3 VARIABLES ROUND 2 VARIABLES ROUND 3 VARIABLES
1 Publication 1 Title of publication 1 Title of publication
2 Date 2 Frequency of publication 2 Type of publication
3 Headline 3 Date of publication 3 Date of story publication
4 Byline 4 Page number 4 Page number
5 Page 5 Public affairs issue 5 Public affairs issue
6 Issue 6 Headline 6 Headline
7 Headline key 7 Reporting approach 7 Subject of the story
8 Format 8 Position of the story 8 Reporting format
Geographical focus of
9 Subject 9 9 Article length
the story
Individual focus of
10 Prominence 10 the story: Name, Role, 10 Position of headline on the page
Gender, Age
Institutional focus of the
11 Region 11 11 Prominence of story on the page
story
12 Newsmaker 12 Origin of the story 12 Scope of the story
13 Institution 13 Type of coverage 13 Focus of the story
Identity and occupation of the
Original source of
14 14 Drivers of coverage 14 person who is or people who are
the story
the focus of the story
Function of the person who is or
Diversity of
15 15 Tone of coverage 15 people who are the focus of the
sources
story
Gender of the person who is or
Multiplicity of
16 16 Sources 16 people who are the focus of the
sources
story
Nationality of the person who is
17 Tone of coverage 17 or people who are the focus of
the story
Age of the person who is or
18 Context 18 people who are the focus of the
story
Identity of the institution that is
Public affairs
19 19 or institutions that are the focus
frame
of the story

36
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Function of the institution that is


20 or institutions that are the focus
of the story
21 Origin of the story
22 Context of the story
Tone of the story with regard to
23
the subject of coverage
24 Priority source 1
25 Priority source 2
26 Priority source 3
27 Priority source 4
28 Priority source 5

37
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

ANNEX 2: PUBLIC AFFAIRS ISSUES AND ASSOCIATED TOPICS


No. Public Affairs Issue (by sector) Headline Key (by topic)
1. Crops
2. Animals
1 Agriculture
3. Institutional or sector management
4. Other
1. Commerce
2. Banking and finance
3. Economic policy and development
2 Business and economy
4. Taxation
5. Institutional or sector management
6. Other
1. Military
2. Terrorism
3 Defence and security 3. National security
4. Institutional or sector management
5. Other
1. Primary level
2. Secondary level
3. Tertiary level
4 Education
4. Higher level
5. Institutional or sector management
6. Other
1. Oil
2. Gas
Energy and extractives 3. Minerals
5
4. Energy
5. Institutional or sector management
6. Other
1. Water and sanitation
2. Water bodies
3. Forests
4. Fisheries
Environment and natural resources
6 5. Wildlife
6. Climate and weather
7. Natural disasters
8. Institutional or sector management
9. Other
1. EAC
2. Africa
7 Foreign affairs 3. International
4. Institutional or sector management
5. Other
1. Diseases
2. Drugs
8 Health
3. Institutional or sector management
4. Other

38
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

1. Civil justice
2. Criminal justice
3. Human rights
4. Corruption
9 Justice, law and order
5. Police
6. Prisons
7. Institutional or sector management
8. Other
1. Land
2. Property
3. Housing
Land, housing and settlements
10 4. Urbanisation/urban development
5. Physical planning
6. Institutional or sector management
7. Other
1. Pro-establishment actors/actions
2. Anti-establishment actors/actions
3. Civil society actors/actions
11 People and power
4. Spontaneous collective actions
5. Political and democratic processes
6. Other
1. Roads
2. Railways
3. Aviation
Public works and infrastructure 4. Marine
12
5. Transport
6. ICT
7. Institutional or sector management
8. Other

39
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

ANNEX 3: OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS ISSUES


1 Agriculture
Matters, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating from activities, laws,
regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state- and non-state actors and institutions related to or
involved in farming and livestock. This includes all forms of agriculture and the support systems on
which farming and livestock production depend.
2 Business and Economy
Matters, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating from activities, laws,
regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state- and non-state actors and institutions related to
or involved in all aspects of the economic life of the nation. This includes business or commercial
operations, the financial system, economic structures and processes, the fiscal and monetary system,
and any individual and entity (private or public) participating in or benefitting directly from
activities that create economic value.
3 Defence and security
Matters, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating from activities, laws,
regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state- and non-state actors and institutions related to
or involved in all aspects of defending the territorial space of the country, securing its borders,
and protecting the security of people and their property. This includes the armed forces and their
personnel, the intelligence services and their personnel, military, defence, and national security
facilities, infrastructure, and institutions.
4 Education
Matters, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating from activities, laws,
regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state- and non-state actors and institutions related to
or involved in all aspects of the formal and informal education systems. This includes schools,
institutions of higher learning, methods of learning, the learners, the system of examination and
certification, scholastic materials and structures, skills and the quality of the school system.
5 Energy and Extractives
Matters, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating from activities, laws,
regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state- and non-state actors and institutions related to
or involved in the oil, gas, and mineral sectors. Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning,
affecting, or originating from activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state-
and non-state actors and institutions involved in the development, production, management, and
consumption of all forms of energy (hydro, solar, renewable, non-renewable). This includes the
entire energy value chain from development of infrastructure and generation to transmission and
distribution.
6 Justice, law and order
Matters, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating from activities, laws,
regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state- and non-state actors and institutions involved in the
functions of courts and agencies or organisations concerned with human rights, the administration of
justice, and the rule of law including their officers, administrators, as well as enforcement personnel,
bodies and mechanisms.
7 Foreign Affairs
Matters, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating from activities, laws,
regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state- and non-state actors and institutions related to
or involved in the Ugandan state’s sovereign diplomatic, political, economic, social, and cultural
relations with other countries and peoples as well as global, bilateral, and multi-lateral bodies.

40
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

8 Health
Matters, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating from activities, laws,
regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state- and non-state actors and institutions involved
in the development, management and use of all forms of health facilities, systems and services
such as public and private hospitals and health centres for the general physical condition of the
population. This includes personnel who work in and manage the health system and sector such as
administrators and service providers, quality of life and access to treatment, disease and outbreaks
and health infrastructure.
9 Justice, law and order
Matters, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating from activities, laws,
regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state- and non-state actors and institutions involved in the
functions of courts and agencies or organisations concerned with human rights, the administration of
justice, and the rule of law including their officers, administrators, as well as enforcement personnel,
bodies and mechanisms.
10 Land, housing and settlements
Matters, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating from occupation of or
settlement on land and property (private and public) as well as activities, laws, regulations, policies,
and institutions related to physical land mass and the structures on it such as buildings, real estate,
construction, rights, ownership, and management.
11 People and Power
Matters, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating from activities, laws,
regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state- and non-state actors and institutions related to
or involved in the exercise of political power as well as constitutional and democratic rights. This
includes voting and participation in electoral processes, legislative affairs, political association,
collective political action, popular representation at national and sub-national levels, and overall
governance of the state.
12 Public works and infrastructure
Matters, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating from activities, laws,
regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state- and non-state actors and institutions involved in
the development, management and use of all forms of transport and public works infrastructure and
services. This includes public and private transportation services and systems as well as motorised
and non-motorised transport systems and facilities on land and water and in the air such roads,
airports, shipping, and railways.

41
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

ANNEX 4: OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS FRAMES


Making, passing, and implementing laws, policies and regulations by
1 Oversight
central and local government authorities and bodies.
Monitoring performance and compliance by and holding to account
Accountability
2 the individuals, authorities and entities entrusted with public
resources and functions.
Functioning of institutions, systems, processes and the people
3 Governance
(collectively and individually) in charge.
Human condition in terms of the economic, social, moral and spiritual
Livelihood and human wellbeing/welfare of citizens individually and collectively including
4
development health, labour, employment, sports, culture, leisure, faith and social
security.
Wealth creation; income generation; all forms of individual, collective,
5 Entrepreneurship private, and public enterprise; markets and investment; business and
trade; commercial interests in general.
Rights of all forms including human, constitutional, civil, political,
social, economic, minority, sexual; access to all forms of justice
including civil, commercial, and criminal; implementation and
6 Rights and rule of law
execution of judicial functions and obligations; enforcement and
observance of law and order at all levels of society and in all domains
of human interaction.
Behaviour, actions and words by private and public individuals,
Professionalism, ethics institutions, and entities that bring into question or raise issues
7 and integrity concerning the values and standards of practice in public, private,
professional and occupational domains of life at all levels of human
interaction.
Production and application of all forms of scientific, technological and
engineering knowledge through research, development and creation
8 Science and innovation
of new methods, techniques, tools and groundbreaking changes in all
domains of human endeavor.
Access to as well as provision and consumption of public and private
Service delivery and
9 goods, products, services, facilities, and infrastructure by public and
consumer affairs
private individuals and entities.
Issues that arise from or concern the country’s dealings and
relationships with foreign or international actors who may be
Foreign and individuals, institutions and entities based or operating within or
10
international relations outside Uganda in all forms and in all domains of the international
system including diplomacy, commerce and culture at all levels
including regional, continental, global, bilateral and multilateral.
Incidences of violence, conflict, war, disaster, accidents, and
Human, physical and tragedy whether natural or man-made that destroy, threaten or
11
natural hazards inflict catastrophic disruption to life and property, nature and the
environment, land and infrastructure, and livelihoods in general.

42
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

ANNEX 5: INTER-CODER RELIABILITY TEST OUTCOMES


Variable Level of Agreement Kappa Statistic Conclusion
Publication 100.0% 1 Almost perfect agreement
Date 100.0% 1 Almost perfect agreement
Headline 100.0% 1 Almost perfect agreement
Byline 94.9% 0.9456 Almost perfect agreement
Page 85.2% 0.8394 Almost perfect agreement
Topic 90.0% 0.8809 Almost perfect agreement
Headline key 100.00% 1 Almost perfect agreement
Format 95.24% 0.94725 Almost perfect agreement
Subject 100.00% 1 Almost perfect agreement
Prominence 92.11% 0.88735 Almost perfect agreement
Region 78.67% 0.72925 Substantial agreement
Newsmaker 76.72% 0.7459 Substantial agreement
Institution 82.32% 0.7803 Substantial agreement
Original source of the story 81.41% 0.7918 Substantial agreement
Male sources 96.06% 0.9575375 Almost perfect agreement
Female sources 97.90% 0.9776 Almost perfect agreement
Non-human sources 93.69% 0.93335 Almost perfect agreement
Multiplicity of sources 97.37% 0.9723 Almost perfect agreement
Context 88.46% 0.8456 Almost perfect agreement
Public affairs frame 81.79% 0.77915 Substantial agreement
<0.0 Poor agreement
0.00-0.20 Slight agreement
0.21-0.40 Fair agreement

INTERPRETATION OF THE KAPPA STATISTIC 0.41-0.60 Moderate agreement


0.61-0.80 Substantial agreement
0.81-1.00 Almost perfect agreement

43
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

ANNEX 6: DISTRIBUTION OF COVERAGE BY ISSUE AND TOPIC*


Issue Topic Frequency Percent
Crops 44 53.0
Animals 14 16.9
AGRICULTURE Institutional or sector management 13 15.7
Other 12 14.5
Total 83 100.0
Commerce 96 34.0
Economic policy and development 58 20.6
Other 46 16.3
BUSINESS AND ECONOMY Banking and finance 35 12.4
Taxation 27 9.6
Institutional or sector management 20 7.1
Total 282 100.0
National security 27 36.0
Military 24 32.0
Terrorism 14 18.7
DEFENCE AND SECURITY
Other 8 10.7
Institutional or sector management 2 2.7
Total 75 100.0
Primary level 50 23.5
Secondary level 47 22.1
Higher level 43 20.2
EDUCATION Institutional or sector management 35 16.4
Tertiary level 22 10.3
Other 16 7.5
Total 213 100.0
Energy (power/electricity) 27 50.0
Oil 10 18.5
ENERGY AND Minerals 7 13.0
EXTRACTIVES Gas 5 9.3
Institutional or sector management 5 9.3
Total 54 100.0

44
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Water and sanitation 27 25.7


Natural disasters 16 15.2
Forests 13 12.4
Climate and weather 11 10.5
ENVIRONMENT AND Wildlife 11 10.5
NATURAL RESOURCES Fisheries 8 7.6
Institutional or sector management 7 6.7
Other 6 5.7
Water bodies 6 5.7
Total 105 100.0
International 90 50.0
Africa 66 36.7
FOREIGN AFFAIRS EAC 23 12.8
Institutional or sector management 1 0.6
Total 180 100.0
Diseases 106 44.2
Other 63 26.3
HEALTH Institutional or sector management 39 16.3
Drugs 32 13.3
Total 240 100.0
Criminal justice 355 40.6
Police 202 23.1
Civil justice 133 15.2
Corruption 60 6.9
JUSTICE, LAW AND
Human rights 53 6.1
ORDER
Other 47 5.4
Institutional or sector management 18 2.1
Prisons 6 0.7
Total 874 100.0

45
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Land 77 67.0
Housing 12 10.4
Urbanisation/urban development 9 7.8
LAND, HOUSING AND Property 8 7.0
SETTLEMENTS Institutional or sector management 4 3.5
Physical planning 3 2.6
Other 2 1.7
Total 115 100.0
Political and democratic processes 418 55.4
Anti-establishment actors/actions 93 12.3
Pro-establishment actors/actions 88 11.7
PEOPLE AND POWER Spontaneous collective actions 78 10.3
Other 44 5.8
Civil society actors/actions 34 4.5
Total 755 100.0
Roads 53 58.2
ICT 12 13.2
Other 9 9.9
Institutional or sector management 7 7.7
PUBLIC WORKS AND
Marine 3 3.3
INFRASTRUCTURE
Railways 3 3.3
Transport 3 3.3
Aviation 1 1.1
Total 91 100.0
Total 3,067
*Based on sample of coverage

46
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

ANNEX 7: DISTRIBUTION OF FRAMES BY PUBLIC AFFAIRS ISSUE


Frame AGR BUS DEF EDU ENE ENV FOR HEA JLO LAN PEO PUB Total

9.2%
Authority 1 35 19 23 5 10 28 6 97 32 252 16
(524)
5.3%
Entrepreneurship 40 172 0 16 14 13 5 2 7 5 21 6
(301)
Foreign and
4.1%
international 5 21 16 6 3 5 137 10 8 3 16 2
(232)
relations
13.0%
Governance 2 46 10 32 5 11 30 13 84 19 465 11
(728)
Human, physical
4.3%
and natural 7 1 21 3 2 41 42 57 56 5 7 1
(243)
hazards
Livelihood
14.4%
and human 64 104 12 117 21 51 14 161 88 47 116 25
(820)
development
Oversight and 9.0%
12 77 9 44 18 24 14 41 94 33 109 34
accountability (509)
Professionalism,
6.1%
ethics and 4 18 5 25 3 2 11 15 167 13 75 11
(349)
integrity
Rights and rule 23.2%
5 37 40 30 5 19 18 23 798 60 267 16
of law (1318)
Science and
15 13 1 8 5 2 5 24 0 0 2 6 1.4% (81)
innovation
Service delivery
10.0%
and consumer 22 80 8 103 30 31 4 117 26 13 79 57
(570)
affairs
Total 177 604 141 407 111 209 308 469 1425 230 1409 185 5675

47
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

ANNEX 8: INDIVIDUAL SOURCES IDENTIFIED IN PUBLIC AFFAIRS STORIES


SOURCES BY CATEGORY Frequency Percent of Male % Female %
observations (n=5,973) (n=1,497)
(n=7470)
1 Politician or political operative 1159 15.5 83.5 16.5
2 Central government representative 729 9.7 77.9 22.1
3 Affected person or victim 650 8.7 58.8 41.2
4 Business representative 568 7.6
5 Law enforcement representative 520 6.9 82.6 17.4
6 Local government personnel 500 6.6 86.0 14.0
7 Judicial personnel 393 5.2 76.6 23.4
8 Expert 385 5.1 83.1 16.9
9 Civil society/local NGO 333 4.4 72.1 27.9
representative
10 Minister 331 4.4 76.4 23.6
11 Member of Parliament 320 4.2 68.1 31.9
12 Perpetrator 294 3.9 82.3 17.7
13 Religious representative 215 2.8 98.1 1.9
15 President 209 2.7 100.0 0.0
16 Person on the street 191 2.5 72.3 27.7
17 International NGO representative 156 2.0 66.7 33.3
18 Other/anonymous/unknown 142 1.9 65.2 34.8
19 Cultural representative 127 1.7 91.3 8.7
20 Diplomatic representative 121 1.6 93.4 6.6
21 Military/security representative 119 1.5 96.6 3.4
22 Vice president 8 0.1 100.0 0.0

48
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

ANNEX 9: SOURCE/VOICE CATEGORIES IN PUBLIC AFFAIRS STORIES


A STATE AUTHORITIES
Frequency Percent Male % Female %
1. Central government representative 729 26.0 77.9 22.1
2. Law enforcement representative 520 18.5 91.5 8.5
3. Local government personnel 500 17.8 86.0 14.0
4. Judicial personnel 393 14.0 76.6 23.4
5. Minister 331 11.8 76.4 23.6
6. President 209 7.4 100.0 0.0
7. Military/security representative 119 4.2 96.6 3.4
8. Vice president 8 0.3 100.0 0.0
Total 2809 100.0
B CIVIC ACTORS
Frequency Percent Male % Female %

1. Expert 385 36.3 83.1 16.9


2. Civil society/Local NGO representative 333 31.4 72.1 27.9
3. Religious representative 215 20.3 98.1 1.9
4. Cultural representative 127 12.0 91.3 8.7
Total 1060 100.0
C POLITICAL ACTORS
Frequency Percent Male % Female %
1. Politician or political operative 1159 78.4 83.5 16.5
2. Member of Parliament 320 21.6 68.1 31.9
3. Total 1479 100.0
D INTERNATIONAL ACTORS
Frequency Percent Male % Female %
1. International NGO representative 156 56.3 66.7 33.3
2. Diplomatic representative 121 43.7 93.4 6.6
Total 277 100.0
E ORDINARY CITIZENS
Frequency Percent Male % Female %
1. Affected person or victim 650 57.2 58.8 41.2
2. Perpetrator 294 25.9 82.3 17.7
3. Person on the street 191 16.8 72.3 27.7
Total 1135 100.0
F COMMERCIAL ACTORS Frequency Percent Male % Female %
1. Business representative 568 16.8 82.6 17.4

49
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Press Coverage of Public


Affairs in Uganda
Round 2: July 2014 - June 2015

ABSTRACT: This midline study is the second installment of research that follows up the first
study that was conducted as a baseline in a longterm research project that tracks and analyses
the coverage of public affairs by the Ugandan media in three phases: (i) July 2013 – June 2014;

July 2014 – June 2015; and (iii) July 2015 – June 2016. Through content analysis and key
informant interviews, the study presents evidence on media practices and performance in
terms of the quantity and quality of public affairs coverage by Uganda’s main English news
publications: Daily Monitor, New Vision, The Independent, and The Observer. The public affairs
issues explored are: Local government; parliament; extractive industry; agriculture; land and
property; water and environment; energy; justice, law and order; transport and public works;
health; science and technology; education.

CITATION: African Centre for Media Excellence (2016). Press Coverage of Public Affairs in
Uganda. Volume 2; July 2014 June 2015.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS:

This study would not have been as rigorous and sound without the expertise of George W.
Lugalambi (PhD), the research consultant who designed the methodology, supervised data
collection and analysis, as well as wrote the report.

It would not have been as comprehensive without dedicated research assistance from: Brenda
Karungi, Clare Muhindo, Elijah Mangeni, Jacqueline Tumwebaze, Jacqueline Emodek, Justin
D. Emedot, Mark K. Muhumuza, Michael Miiro Lugendo and Paul Mubiri, Simon Musasizi

Many thanks to Paul Kimumwe, Peter Mwesige and the rest of the team at the African Centre
for Media Excellence who improved the research report with keen and constructively critical
comments. Special thanks to Brian Ssenabulya and Lydia Namubiru, also at ACME, for authoring
final improvements to the research report.

iii
CONTENTS
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

INTRODUCTION 6
Objectives 6
Research Questions 6
Public Affairs of Interest 7
Content Universe 7

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY 11


Sampling Approach 12
Content Analysis 13
InterCoder Reliability 14

PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION OF RESULTS 15


The Distribution of Public Affairs Coverage 15
Media Priorities in the Coverage of Public Affairs 20
Publication Priorities by Volume 20
Publication Priorities by Prominence 21
Public Affairs Reporting Formats 22
Sourcing in Public Affairs Discourse 25
Sourcing Effort in Public Affairs Reporting 25
Voices Represented in Public Affairs Discourse 26
The Framing of Public Affairs Issues 29
Quality of Reporting and Use of Data 32

CONCLUSION 33

ANNEX: THE CODING SCHEME 36

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1: Percentage of Coverage by Public Affairs Issue at Midline 16
Figure 2: Change in Coverage by Issue Between Baseline and Midline 17
Figure 3: Overall Trend in Coverage of Public Affairs Over the Financial Year (JulJun) 18
Figure 4: Overall Trend in Coverage of Public Affairs by Publication (Jul 2014Jun 2015) 18
Figure 5: Sourcing Effort in Public Affairs Coverage at Baseline and Midline 25
Figure 6: Number of Sources Quoted Per Story at Midline by Publication 26
Figure 7: Gender of Sources Quoted in Specified Capacities (Percent, Midline) 27
Figure 8: Trend in Distribution of Sources in Midline and Baseline 28

iv
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

LIST OF TABLES
Table 1: Revisions in Variable Structure 11
Table 2: Comparison of Baseline and Midline Sample Sizes 12
Table 3: Construction of Midline Secondary Sample Used for Detailed Content Analysis 13
Table 4: Selected Results of InterCoder Reliability Tests 14
Table 5: Comparison of Public Affairs Coverage between Baseline and Midline 16
Table 6: Trends in Midline Coverage by Issue Over the Year 19
Table 6: Volume of Midline Public Affairs Stories by Publication (Jul 2013Jun 2014) 20
Table 7: Volume of Baseline Public Affairs Stories by Publication (Jul 2014Jun 2015) 20
Table 8: Overall Page Location of Midline Public Affairs Stories 21
Table 9: Front Page versus Inside Page Treatment of Midline Stories by Issue 21
Table 10: Comparison of Public Affairs Issues by Page Ranking 22
Table 11: Prevalence of Reporting Formats (Midline) 23
Table 13: Prevalence of Reporting Formats (Baseline) 23
Table 14: Comparison of Public Affairs Issue by Reporting Format 24
Table 15: Type of Coverage by Publication 29
Table 16: Drivers of Coverage by Publication 29
Table 17: Tone of Midline Coverage by Publication 30
Table 18: Tone of Baseline Coverage by Publication 30
Table 19: Comparison of Public Affairs Issue by Tone of Coverage at Midline 30
Table 20: Comparison of Public Affairs Issue by Tone of Coverage at Baseline 31
Table 21: Story Origin 32
Table 22: Comparison of Story Origin by Publication 33

1
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Introduction
The midline study assesses coverage of public affairs from July 2014 to June 2015 and is a follow-
up to the baseline which examined coverage from July 2013 to June 2014. The research project will
be include two more annual followup studies.

The aim of the project is to provide evidence of the quantity, quality, and nature of as well as
trends and patterns in the coverage of public affairs by the media in Uganda. By public affairs
we refer to issues of public interest that citizens have a right to know about. These are issues that
affect people’s livelihoods and being informed and engaged about them are essential for citizens
to meaningfully exercise their rights and responsibilities.

This study tracks the coverage of the identified issues, measures it on a range of news and editorial
attributes, and assesses the extent to which the reporting meets the standards of good practice in
public affairs journalism. Various aspects of the coverage are examined including its distribution,
volume, scope, quality, and trend over time.

The methodology used to conduct this midline phase of the research was originally developed
and piloted during the baseline study. Whereas practical adjustments have been made to the
methodology in view of lessons learnt while conducting the baseline, the changes do not affect the
overall comparability of results. The changes have in fact led to improved clarity of operational
definitions (e.g. of the public affairs issues of interest) and efficiency in data collection (e.g. by
simplifying the coding process).

Objectives
The objectives of the project are:

1. To gather empirical evidence of the quantity, quality, frequency, scope, and nature of
public affairs coverage by the Ugandan media.

2. To provide midline data and information for use in evaluating and comparing coverage
before and after the period under investigation.

3. To account for the patterns observed as well as the conditions that foster and those that
impede the coverage of public affairs.

4. To assess the extent to which the media set the agenda on the national conversation about
public affairs.

Research Questions
The project aims to address the following research questions, which have been slightly modified
from the original in order to improve coherence in the presentation of results:

1. What is the quantity and quality of media coverage of public affairs and how have they
changed over time?

2
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

2. What information about public affairs is communicated to the public and how has it changed
over time?

3. How are public affairs issues portrayed and presented to audiences?

4. What is the overall distribution of public affairs coverage?

5. What public affairs do the media focus on and prioritise in their coverage?

6. Who are the key actors and agendasetters and whose voices are represented in media discourse
on public affairs?

7. To what extent is data used in the coverage of public affairs and how is it handled?

8. How do the results of coverage at the midline point compare with the findings of the baseline?

9. What does media coverage reveal about the broader national conversation on public affairs
in Uganda?

Public Affairs of Interest


The study focuses on 12 public affairs issues as described below:

1. Local government: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating


from local governments collectively or individually and their constituent geographical
units (districts, counties, subcounties, parishes, villages, cities, municipalities, towns),
administrative entities (councils, boards, committees), service delivery functions, public
mandates (constitutional, legal, policy, regulatory), state and nonstate actors (in elective and
nonelective offices and positions), and state and nonstate institutions (public, private, non­
governmental, communitybased).

2. Parliament: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating


from the national legislature as a whole and its elected members, organs and staff, its public
mandates (constitutional, legal, policy, regulatory), citizens, as well as state and nonstate
actors and institutions.

3. Extractive industry: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or


originating from activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state and non-
state actors and institutions related to or involved in the oil, gas, and mineral sectors.

4. Agriculture: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating


from activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state and nonstate actors
and institutions related to or involved in farming and livestock. This includes all forms of
agriculture and the support systems on which farming and livestock production depend.

5. Land and property: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or


originating from occupation of or settlement on land and property (private and public) as
well as activities, laws, regulations, policies, and institutions related to physical land mass
and the structures on it such as buildings, real estate, construction, rights, ownership, and
management.

3
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

6. Water and environment: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or


originating from water bodies and environmental resources, activities, laws, regulations, and
policies as well as the people, authorities, and institutions responsible for the management of
water and environmental resources. This includes all forms of nature, the ecosystem, wildlife
and activities that take place on water and in the natural environment as well as issues to do
with the exploitation or use of these natural assets.

7. Energy: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating from


activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state and nonstate actors and
institutions involved in the development, production, management, and consumption of all
forms of energy (hydro, solar, renewable, nonrenewable). This includes the entire energy value
chain from development of infrastructure and generation to transmission and distribution.

8. Justice, law and order: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or
originating from activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state and non-
state actors and institutions involved in the functions of courts and agencies or organisations
concerned with human rights, the administration of justice, and the rule of law including their
officers, administrators, as well as enforcement personnel, bodies and mechanisms.

9. Transport and public works: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting,
or originating from activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state and non-
state actors and institutions involved in the development, management and use of all forms
of transport and public works infrastructure and services. This includes public and private
transportation services and systems as well as motorised and nonmotorised transport systems
and facilities on land and water and in the air such roads, airports, shipping, and railways.

10. Health: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating from
activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state and nonstate actors and
institutions involved in the development, management and use of all forms of health facilities,
systems and services such as public and private hospitals and health centres for the general
physical condition of the population. This includes personnel who work in and manage the
health system and sector such as administrators and service providers, quality of life and
access to treatment, disease and outbreaks and health infrastructure.

11. Science and technology: Research, inventions, innovations and discoveries in the various
fields of basic and applied science and technology including information and communication.
This includes issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating
from activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities, aswell as state and nonstate actors and
institutions involved in the production, management, regulation, and control of the process
and utilisation of scientific and technological knowledge, services and outputs.

12. Education: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating from
activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state and nonstate actors and
institutions related to or involved in all aspects of the formal and informal education systems.
This includes schools, institutions of higher learning, methods of learning, the learners, the
system of examination and certification, scholastic materials and structures, skills and the
quality of the school system.

4
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Content Universe
The content universe, or study population, consists exclusively of press coverage by the following
news publications:

1. Daily Monitor (daily)

2. New Vision (daily)

3. The Observer (triweekly)

4. The Independent (weekly)

Specifically, the study and the project as a whole focuses on public affairs articles that conform to
one of four story types:

1. Conventional

2. Interpretive

3. Investigative

4. Enterprise

Under conventional reporting, factfinding is the dominant posture with common characteristics
such as the following: spot or hard news that tends to focus on events; generally onedimensional;
neutral and often uncritical transmission of facts; tendency to assign equal weight to all positions;
faithful recording of the observed event or issue; suppression of the journalist’s prior knowledge
of the subject; the journalist’s role is passive and often reactive; depends largely or entirely on
material provided by others; and tends to be eventcentred.

Under interpretive reporting, explanation is the dominant posture with common characteristics
such as the following: factual observation; balanced presentation of pertinent background and
contextual information; goes beyond the immediate event by adding meaning to complex news
situations; explains change and relates events to each other; full or multidimensional story “in
which the reader gets both an accurate account of an event or situation and enough additional
information to assure understanding” (Hage et al., p.18); the journalist is proactive – often initiates
coverage rather than wait for events; and tends to be processcentred.

Under investigative reporting, exposition is the dominant posture with common characteristics
such as the following: the story is the journalist’s original initiative; depends on material gathered
or generated through the reporter’s own effort; reporting uncovers information that an individual
or entity may have tried to conceal from public scrutiny, or information that an individual or
entity may have had an interest in keeping out of the public domain; resources and evidence
used by the journalist are clearly discernible; evidence of strong documentation (the paper trail)
and sourcing; “involves exposing to the public matters that are concealed – either deliberately by
someone in a position of power, or accidentally, behind a chaotic mass of facts and circumstances
that obscure understanding. It requires using both secret and open sources and documents”
(Hunter et al., p.7).

5
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Under enterprise reporting, the story is of the journalist’s own initiative and effort. The coverage
follows more leads than the usual straight news story and depends on material gathered or
generated through the reporter’s Independent efforts. Enterprise stories generally use the creative
style to explore issues in greater depth usually with the aid of narrative or literary techniques.
These stories are traditionally presented as features. Instead of focusing on breaking news,
enterprise stories focus on the forces that shape the events that may or may not be in the news.
Enterprise reporting tends to emphasize the human interest angle and to focus on discovering and
explaining patterns and trends that may lie behind reported episodes or events.

6
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Research design and methodology


The design of the study allows for the comparability of results on key variables between the
baseline and midline. Accordingly, all the core variables employed in the baseline were replicated
in the midline. However, since the baseline was partly a pilot of the methodology, necessary
refinements and adjustments were made to the midline methodology in response to lessons learnt
and feedback received.

A particular aim of the changes was to improve efficiency in data collection and measurement.
This in turn was expected to improve the validity and reliability of the findings and to speed
up data collection. Specifically, operational definitions of the variables have been sharpened and
significantly improved. Some baseline variables that turned out to be redundant or difficult to
observe in a systematic fashion have been done away with. Others have been refined by merging
them. For instance, all variables originally related to individual ‘focus of the story” have been
integrated into one variable – “Individual focus of the story: Name, role, gender, age” – with
multiple responses. Similarly, the original “priority source,” which was captured at five levels, has
been consolidated into a single variable – “source” – with multiple responses. Table 1 describes
these changes. One new variable – “drivers of coverage” – has been introduced in the midline (see
coding scheme annexed).

Table 1: Revisions in Variable Structure


Midline Variables Baseline Variables
1 Title of publication 1 Title of publication
2 Frequency of publication 2 Type of publication
3 Date of publication 3 Date of story publication
4 Page number 4 Page number
5 Public affairs issue 5 Public affairs issue
6 Headline 6 Headline
7 Reporting approach 7 Subject of the story
8 Position of the story 8 Reporting format
9 Geographical focus of the story 9 Article length*
Individual focus of the story: Name,
10 10 Position of headline on the page
Role, Gender, Age
11 Institutional focus of the story 11 Prominence of story on the page*
12 Origin of the story 12 Scope of the story
13 Type of coverage 13 Focus of the story**
Identity and occupation of the person who is
14 Drivers of coverage 14
or people who are the focus of the story**
Function of the person who is or people who
15 Tone of coverage 15
are the focus of the story**
Gender of the person who is or people who
16 Sources 16
are the focus of the story**
Nationality of the person who is or people
17
who are the focus of the story*

7
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Age of the person who is or people who are


18
the focus of the story**
Identity of the institution that is or
Table Notes: 19
institutions that are the focus of the story
Function of the institution that is or
*Dropped variables 20
institutions that are the focus of the story*
**Merged and reformulated as “Individual
focus of the story: Name, Role, Gender, Age” 21 Origin of the story
in midline.
***Merged and reformulated as “Sources” in
22 Context of the story
the midline.
“Type of publication” in the baseline is Tone of the story with regard to the subject
23
“Frequency of publication” in the midline. of coverage
“Reporting format” in the baseline is
24 Priority source 1***
“Reporting approach” in the midline.
“Context of the story” in the baseline is “Type
25 Priority source 2***
of coverage” in the midline.
“Scope of the story” in the baseline is
“Geographical focus of the story” in the 26 Priority source 3***
midline.
“Drivers of coverage” is a new variable
27 Priority source 4***
introduced in the midline.
28 Priority source 5***

Sampling Approach
The analysis is based on two sets of data. The primary dataset was generated through a census of
public affairs articles published by the four targeted news outlets from July 2014 to June 2015. The
purpose of the census was to create a foundation for elementary comparisons with the baseline,
which was on a census of the coverage. The secondary dataset, on which deeper midline analysis
was done, was, a random sample from the primary set. As Table 2 shows, 2,843 public affairs
stories were reported in the baseline phase of July 2013 to June 2014 as compared to 6,505 that
were reported in the midline phase of July 2014 to June 2015, representing a 56% upsurge in
coverage as measured by story count.

8
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Table 2: Comparison of Baseline and Midline Sample Sizes


Baseline Midline
July 2013 – June 2014 July 2014 – June 2015
Publication Story Count Percent Story Count Percent
Daily Monitor 1,095 38.5 2,574 39.6
New Vision 1045 36.8 2,842 43.7
Observer 547 19.2 997 15.3
Independent 156 5.5 92 1.4
Total 2,843 100 6,505 100

The sample size for the second dataset was determined using probability proportionalto size
sampling, on the one hand, and simple random sampling, on the other. Out of the primary sample
of 6,505 stories in the study period of July 2014 to June 2015, a secondary sample equivalent to
onethird (33% or 2,144 stories) of the primary sample was generated. This secondary sample was
then distributed proportionately according to each publication’s contribution to the total volume
of stories as summarised in Table 3. This is the sample that was used for the detailed content
analysis.

Table 3: Construction of Midline Secondary Sample Used for Detailed


Content Analysis
Story Count in Primary Sample by
Story Count in Secondary Sample
Census
Publication Frequency Percent Frequency Percent
Daily Monitor 2,574 39.6 850 40
New Vision 2,842 43.7 935 44
Observer 997 15.3 329 15
Independent 92 1.4 30 1.4
Total 6,505 100 2,144 33.0*

*Onethird of the primary sample

Content Analysis
Using the story as the unit of analysis, the data was gathered using the standard coding scheme
that was developed for the baseline study, modified as appropriate, and administered by two
Independent teams of coders.

In the first round of the content analysis, a team of coders was assigned to carry out the census
of public affairs coverage that resulted in the primary sample focusing on five core variables,
namely: Title of publication; Date of publication; Page number; Topic (public affairs issue); and
Headline. The data at this level was captured using MS Excel.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

In the second round of the content analysis, another team of coders was assigned stories drawn
from the secondary dataset. This team conducted the comprehensive coding of content that
included all 16 variables. The data at this level was captured using MS Access and the analysis
done with Stata.

InterCoder Reliability
Intercoder reliability (ICR) was tested by dividing the coders who handled the secondary dataset
into pairs. The pairs then double coded a sample of stories with each coder working Independently.
The results of each pair were statistically compared using the Kappa statistic to determine the
degree to which the coding outcomes were identical or generally consistent. The ICR outcome for
each target variable was computed as the overall percentage agreement. Two formal rounds of
ICR checks were

conducted on all variables. The inconsistencies observed were addressed through coder training
and pretest coding, and by conducting reliability checks on a casebycase basis principally targeting
those variables that were known to be problematic from our experience with the baseline. Table 4
shows the results of selected variables that were steadily coded across both formal rounds of ICR
checks.

Table 4: Selected Results of InterCoder Reliability Tests


Level of Kappa1
Variable Pvalue* Conclusion
Agreement Statistics
Date of publication 86.7% 0.838 <0.001 Almost perfect agreement
Page number 80.0% 0.765 <0.001 Substantial agreement
Public affairs issue 93.3% 0.909 <0.001 Almost perfect agreement
Drivers of coverage 91.7% 0.435 0.005 Almost perfect agreement
Tone of the story 66.7% 0.435 0.008 Moderate agreement

* Pvalue tests whether the estimated Kappa is not due to chance.

1 Interpretation of Kappa Statistics

<0 Less than chance agreement


0.01 0.20 Slight agreement
0.21 0.40 Fair agreement
0.41 0.60 Moderate agreement
0.61 0.80 Substantial agreement
0.81 0.99 Almost perfect agreement

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Presentation and discussion of results


The results of the midline study are presented and discussed under the themes as those used to
report the baseline findings, namely: (i) The distribution of public affairs coverage; (ii) Media
priorities in the coverage of public affairs; (iii) Approaches to public affairs reporting; (iv) The
framing of public affairs issues; (v) Voices represented in public affairs discourse; (vi) Quality of
reporting and use of data.

As already reported, the research generated two datasets (see Table 3). The first comprises a
census of content published during the 12 months of coverage under review. This is what has
been referred to as the primary sample. With the story as the unit of analysis, the census was
limited to selected high level variables, i.e.: (i) Date of publication; (ii) Page on which the article
appears; (iii) Topic or public affairs issue; and (iv) Headline or subject of the article. The second
dataset consists of stories derived from a random sample of the coverage as previously explained.
This is what has been referred to as the secondary sample. This smaller subsample enabled a more
exhaustive exploration of the coverage by zeroing in on detailed characteristics of the quantity
and quality of reporting on public affairs.

The first part of this section reports the macro picture that the analysis of coverage reveals, while
the second part delves into the micro landscape of public affairs reporting that emerges. At the
macro level we focus on the overall distribution of coverage in terms of: (i) Volume of stories, (ii)
Trend over time, and (ii) Location of stories.

The Distribution of Public Affairs Coverage


The extent to which issues gain people’s attention depends significantly on their level of diffusion
in public discourse through the different channels in which it is transmitted. Much of this discourse
is initiated by the mainstream print media and is then filtered and amplified through other
platforms including radio, TV, and social media. Some of these electronic and digital platforms,
interestingly, are controlled by the same media organisations that own the major newspapers,
notably Vision Group which owns New Vision and Nation Media Group which owns Daily
Monitor. The news websites and other online platforms of these two newspapers do also have
large followings. Therefore, the issues that dominate the coverage of the main news publications
are likely to resonate most in public deliberation about the issues of interest in this study.

At the basic level, the study was interested in the amount of coverage that the major news
publications collectively devoted to public affairs. Issues to do with justice, law and order, as
Figure 1 shows, accounted for 23.3% of the coverage followed by education (17.7%), health
(14.6%), and parliament (9.2%).

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Figure 1: Percentage of Coverage by Public Affairs Issue at Midline

The trend of coverage as delineated by public affairs issue is captured in Table 5 and Figure 2.
There was overall growth in reporting on every issue from baseline to midline (based on the
primary sample). Local government saw the sharpest rise in its share of coverage from 1.6%
to 4.2%, which bumped its rank from 11th at baseline to 9th. Other notable changes in ranks
were; justice, law and order displacing education from the top spot; and transport and public
works coverage jumping from 9th to 7th between baseline and midline. However, education and
parliament saw significant drops in their proportional share of the coverage, from 20.6% to 17.7%
and 14.8% to 9.2%, respectively.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Table 5: Comparison of Public Affairs Coverage between Baseline and


Midline
Baseline Midline
Public affairs issue Percent Percent
(n=2,843) (n=6,505)
Education 592 20.6 1,153 17.7
Justice, law & order 543 23.2 1,513 23.3
Health 481 15.1 947 14.6
Parliament 339 14.8 600 9.2
Land & property 177 7.1 375 5.7
Agriculture 143 2.7 382 5.9
Transport & public works 137 4.1 439 6.8
Extractive industry 113 3.0 184 2.8
Water & environment 112 3.1 371 5.7
Energy 78 3.0 160 2.5
Local government 67 1.6 272 4.2
Science & technology 61 1.6 108 1.7

Figure 2: Change in Coverage by Issue Between Baseline and Midline

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

The overall midline trend as observed indicates an overall downward shift as the months go by.
It’s possible that debate surrounding the allocation of national resources following the public
presentation of the national budget has an influence on the decisions that editorial managers make
in determining the issues to cover. Both baseline and midline analysis revealed that coverage
tends to peak in July, the start of the government financial year and tapers as the months go by.

Over the midline period, however, the downward shift was considerably less dramatic and the
volume of public affairs reporting picked up much earlier in the financial year than was observed
in the baseline period (see Figure 3).

Figure 3: Overall Trend in Coverage of Public Affairs Over the


Government Financial Year (JulJun)

Analysis of individual publications, however, reveal two extremes: coverage by The Independent
varies dramatically from periods of very high to very low attention to the issues, while The
Observer’s coverage is largely flat and consistent all through the year. This suggests that The
Observer approaches public affairs reporting more proactively than reactively.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Figure 4: Overall Trend in Midline Coverage of Public Affairs by


Publication (Jul 2014Jun 2015)

The trajectory of coverage by issue over the year is illustrated in Figure 5. Justice, law and order
appears to be an enduring issue. Even though it goes down during the last quarter of 2014,
coverage is largely steady all through the year. The same applies to education whose coverage
always gets a sudden boost in the first quarter of the year when national examinations results are
released.

Table 6: Trends in Midline Coverage by Issue Over the Year


Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Jan Feb Ma Apr May Jun
Issue Total
‘14 ‘14 ‘14 ‘14 ‘14 ‘14 ‘15 ‘15 ‘15 ‘15 ‘15 ‘15
Justice, Law,
241 109 101 57 60 70 153 108 149 173 173 119 1,513 (23.3%)
& Order
Education 119 105 93 101 96 56 103 133 93 84 102 68 1,153 (17.7%)
Health 106 97 84 85 77 59 53 70 94 81 90 51 947 (14.6%)
Parliament 59 65 46 38 31 21 25 65 77 52 83 38 600 (9.2%)
Transport &
58 64 42 45 31 33 37 23 21 26 37 22 439 (6.8%)
Public Works
Agriculture 68 49 47 27 28 31 15 14 28 20 37 19 383 (5.9%)
Land &
25 22 33 22 20 36 26 34 37 42 47 31 375 (5.8%)
Property
Water &
36 36 43 31 40 25 24 22 39 29 27 19 371 (5.7%)
Environment

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Local
46 30 38 25 31 20 9 10 21 16 19 7 272 (4.2%)
Government
Extractives 34 16 19 14 13 9 8 21 15 13 14 8 184 (2.8%)
Energy 11 15 17 12 10 9 14 16 20 12 13 11 160 (2.5%)
Science &
22 5 6 10 15 3 5 9 8 9 5 11 108 (1.7%)
Technology
Total 825 613 569 467 452 372 472 525 602 557 647 404 6,505

*Based on the primary sample (N = 6,505)

Media Priorities in the Coverage of Public Affairs


Publication Priorities by Volume
The top ranked issues across the public affairs spectrum also dominate the coverage by individual
publications. A comparison of the midline and baseline (see Table 7) also reveals that the justice,
law, and order along with education, health, and parliament are consistently the most prioritised
issues both in terms of absolute and proportionate coverage; while energy and science and
technology tend to get the least priority.

Table 7: Volume of Midline Public Affairs Stories by Publication (Jul


2013Jun 2014)*
Daily New
Total N = Observer Independent
Public Affairs Issue Percent Monitor Vision
6,505 (N=997) (N=92)
(N=2,574) (N=2,842)
Justice, Law and Order 1,513 (23.3%) 30.9 19.8 13.3 21.7
Education 1,153 (17.7%) 16.4 14.1 32.8 4.4
Health 947 (14.5%) 12.5 14.7 18.5 27.2
Parliament 600 (9.2%) 10.7 10.2 3.2 4.3
Transport and Public
439 (6.7%) 5.5 8.8 4.0 7.6
Works
Agriculture 383 (5.8%) 2.9 8.2 7.1 5.4
Land and Property 375 (5.7%) 6.2 6.3 3.1 4.3
Water and Environment 371 (5.7%) 4.3 7.6 4.4 1.1
Local Government 272 (4.2%) 4.8 4.4 2.4 0.0
Extractive Industry 184 (2.8%) 2.1 2.6 4.7 9.8
Energy 160 (2.5%) 2.2 1.8 4.6 6.5
Science and Technology 108 (1.6%) 1.5 1.6 1.8 7.6

*Based on the primary sample (N = 6,505)

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Table 8: Volume of Baseline Public Affairs Stories by Publication (Jul


2014Jun 2015)
Total Daily New
Observer Independent
Public Affairs Issue N= Percent Monitor Vision
(n=547) (n=156)
2,843 (n=1,095) (n=1,045)
Education 592 (20.8%) 20.6 21.0 25.4 4.5
Justice, Law and Order 543 (19.1%) 23.2 17.1 14.1 21.1
Health 481 (16.9%) 15.1 20.6 14.3 14.7
Parliament 339 (11.9%) 14.8 7.7 15.5 7.7
Land and Property 177 (6.2%) 7.1 5.5 5.8 5.8
Agriculture 143 (5.0%) 2.7 4.9 8.4 10.3
Transport and Public Works 137 (4.8%) 4.1 7.3 0.9 7.0
Extractive Industry 113 (4.0%) 3.0 2.4 8.6 5.1
Water and Environment 112 (3.9%) 3.1 6.0 1.8 3.2
Energy 78 (2.7%) 3.0 2.0 2.6 6.4
Local Government 67 (2.4%) 1.6 4.3 0.2 2.6
Science and Technology 61 (2.1%) 1.6 1.1 2.4 11.5

Publication Priorities by Prominence


Cover Page Prominence
Another measure of how the press prioritises public affairs issues is their prominence in terms
of the pages on which these issues appear. Just 2% of stories were published on the cover pages
(excluding The Independent magazine). However, as Table 8 shows, most stories were published
between the third and fifth pages, which are generally considered prominent sections.

Table 9: Overall Page Location of Midline Public Affairs Stories


Publication Frequency/Total Cover Page Inside Page
New Vision 2,842 86 2,756
Daily Monitor 2,574 46 2,528
Observer 997 1 996
Independent 92 0 92
Total 6,505 133 (2%) 6,372 (98%)

An analysis of page location by issue confirms that issues which dominate the coverage also enjoy
pride of place as they occupy most front pages (see Table 9).

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Table 10: Front Page versus Inside Page Treatment of Midline Stories
by Issue
Issue Total Front Page Inside Page
Justice, Law and Order 1,513 43 1,470
Education 1,153 37 1,116
Health 947 12 935
Parliament 600 13 587
Transport and Public Works 439 11 428
Agriculture 383 1 382
Land and Property 375 9 366
Water and Environment 371 1 370
Local Government 272 2 270
Extractive Industry 184 3 181
Energy 160 1 159
Science and Technology 108 0 108
Total 6,505 133 (2%) 6,372 (98%)

Lead Story Prominence


Another perspective on the relative importance that editors attach to public affairs comes from
the inherent ranking that editors accord these stories. Public affairs stories were compared with
all other nonpublic affairs stories they competed against on the same page. They were then
ranked based on their relative prominence. The nonpublic affairs stories were articles on a whole
range of subjects such as sports, entertainment, lifestyle, and sponsored/promoted content like
advertorials, infomercials, supplements, public service information, etc). In more than half of all
cases, public affairs stories were the lead stories on the pages on which they appeared.

When disaggregated by issue, the analysis as reported in Table 10 indicates that stories about the
extractive industry (73.7%), transport and public works (64.8%), water and environment (62.5%),
and education (61.7%) were treated most frequently as lead stories on the pages on which they
appeared.

Table 11: Comparison of Public Affairs Issues by Page Ranking


POSITION OF STORY ON PAGE IT APPEARS ON (N = 2,144)
First Lead Second Lead Third Lead Other
% % % %
Extractive Industry 73.7 21.1 3.5 1.8
Transport and Public Works 64.8 25.2 7.2 2.9
Water and Environment 62.5 23.3 12.5 1.7
Education 61.7 25.4 11.3 1.5
Land and Property 59.2 28.2 8.6 3.9
Parliament 58.7 27.5 12.7 1.1

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Agriculture 55.5 34.5 7.6 2.5


Energy 55.2 31.0 13.8 0
Local Government 55.0 32.5 10.0 2.5
Health 54.5 27.3 15.1 3.2
Science and Technology 47.4 47.4 2.7 2.6
Justice Law and Order 46.3 31.5 18.8 3.4
Total 56.2 28.5 12.8 2.5

Page location and page ranking as indicators of editorial prioritisation were not applied to
the baseline study. They were introduced in the midline study as a means to triangulate the
measurement of story prominence and to test alternative indicators of editorial prioritisation. The
two comparative measures employed for the baseline were (i) the positioning of the headline
on the page where the story appeared relative to other stories on the same page, and (ii) the
prominence of public affairs stories relative to the other articles that appeared on the same page.
Although these indicators were not replicated in the midline, they still do provide meaningful
comparisons that should provide additional insights that are equally valuable.

According to the baseline results, public affairs stories occupied 80% of all headline space above
the fold, implying that these stories were accorded greater weight than the nonpublic affairs
articles that appeared on the same pages. Similarly, public affairs stories were the most prominent
(65.5%) relative to nonpublic affairs articles they competed with for space.

Public Affairs Reporting Formats


The coverage of public affairs provides editors and reporters with the opportunity to follow up
through what has come to be known as “day 2 journalism” which thrives on nonconventional
reporting formats that are less driven by breaking events or shortterm issues. Yet, at about
61%, the conventional format takes a disproportionate share of the coverage of public affairs.
The remaining three approaches combined account for slightly under 40% of the coverage with
enterprise reporting taking the second position at 19.5% (see Table 11). The enterprise category
was introduced in the midline study among the revisions that were made to the coding scheme. It
was not included in the baseline.

Table 12: Prevalence of Reporting Formats (Midline)


Reporting Number
Publication (%)
Format of Stories
Daily Monitor New Vision Independent Observer Total
n=850 n=935 n=30 n=329 N=2,14 4
Conventional 1,313 65.4 63.3 16.7 48.8 61.3
Enterprise 417 15.8 18.4 43.3 29.9 19.5
Interpretive 221 11.5 9.2 6.7 10.7 10.3
Investigative 192 7.3 9.1 33.3 10.7 9.0

In comparison to the baseline (see Table 12), conventional reporting was also the most prevalent
reporting format in the coverage of public affairs, accounting for 76.7% of all coverage. Although

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

its share of the coverage declined by 15.4 percentage points from baseline to midline, the
conventional format still came out on top. The interpretive format also declined by 6.3 percentage
points from baseline to decline. Only the investigative format gained in coverage from a baseline
of 6.7% to 9.0% at the midline point.

Table 13: Prevalence of Reporting Formats (Baseline)


Reporting Format Publication (%)
Daily Monitor New Vision Independent Observer Total
n=1,095 n=1,045 n=156 n=547 N=2,843
Conventional 89.0 78.6 3.3 69.8 76.7
Interpretive 10.1 10.5 78.2 23.4 16.6
Investigative 0.9 10.9 18.6 6.8 6.7

The dearth of investigative reporting notwithstanding, stories about the extractive industry
(17.5%) and about transport and public works (17.3%) had the most stories reported through
the investigative approach. Enterprise reporting was mostly used to cover stories on agriculture
(26.9%), health (24.7%), education (23.9%), the extractive industry (22.8%) and local government
(20.0%), in that order (see Table 14). It is apparent from these patterns that the investigative method
is closely aligned with coverage of issues where corruption, politics, and the allocation of public
resources are particularly contentious subjects. The enterprise format, on the other hand, appears
to be closely associated with issues where human development is the central focus.

Table 14: Comparison of Public Affairs Issue by Reporting Format


Issue Story Count Reporting Format
Conventional % Interpretive % Investigative % Enterprise %
Justice, Law and Order 505 64.4 12.3 7.7 15.6
Education 398 54.8 12.6 8.8 23.9
Health 312 61.2 6.4 7.7 24.7
Parliament 189 74.6 6.3 10.6 8.5
Transport & Public Works 139 56.8 9.4 17.3 16.5
Land and Property 128 59.4 13.3 8.6 18.8
Agriculture 120 57.1 13.4 2.5 26.9
Water & Environment 120 56.7 13.3 9.2 20.8
Local Government 80 65.0 5.0 10.0 20.0
Energy 58 74.1 1.7 5.2 19
Extractive Industry 57 47.4 12.3 17.5 22.8
Science & Technology 38 65.8 7.9 10.5 15.8
Total 2,144 61.3 10.3 9.0 19.5

Sourcing in Public Affairs Discourse


Sourcing is the lifeblood of journalistic narratives and decisions about sourcing have consequences

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

because they are not innocent or empty rituals. For instance; the number of sources in a story/
sourcing effort is a measure of the quality of reporting. At the same time, it matters who gets
the chance to be heard on a particular issue in a story because the cumulative impact arising
from the predominance of certain voices over others can privilege the perspectives of particular
individuals who are frequently used as sources and could crowd out or render voiceless other
actors on an issue.

Sourcing Effort in Public Affairs Reporting


The midline analysis reveals a decline in the sourcing efforts made by journalists who cover
public affairs. The proportion of stories quoting two, one or no sources at all increased from 61%
at baseline to 73% during the midline period. Those with three or more sources decreased. (See
Figure 6).

Figure 5: Sourcing Effort in Public Affairs Coverage at Baseline and


Midline

Analysis by publication at midline shows The Independent as a positive outlier in terms of


sourcing effort. While more than half the stories in all the other publications quoted only
two, one or no sources at all, the reverse is true of stories published by The Independent; 79%
of them had three or more source; with 6 in every 10 stories quoting more than 3 sources.
(See Figure 7)

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Figure 6: Number of Sources Quoted Per Story at Midline by Publication

Voices Represented in Public Affairs Discourse


The study analysed voice representation on three criteria: gender, institutional
representation and and the capacity in which particular voices are quoted in the stories.

Women’s Voices
In the baseline analysis, women were the focus of about 12% of public affairs stories, while men
and mixed gender groups were the focus in 40% and 31% of stories respectively. 18% of the stories
didn’t focus on identifiable human subjects.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Gender in public affairs reporting was tracked differently in the midline period; by capturing the
sex of every source quoted. Of 4294 sources quoted during the midline period, 22% were women
while 76% were men. The gender of about 2% of the sources was not reliably established.

Women are most frequently quoted as people on the street/eyewitnesses to events and as victims
or affected persons. (See Figure 8)

Figure 7: Gender of Sources Quoted in Specified Capacities (Percent,


Midline)

Institutional Representation
In the midline analysis, government officials as a whole (representatives of the central and local
governments as well as ministers, law enforcement personnel, and the president) accounted for
almost 54% of all sources cited in public affairs stories, with central government officials appearing
as the single most sourced category. At baseline, this same broad category of sources accounted
for just over 50% of all sources quoted. Nonetheless, sourcing was more diversified in the midline

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

period than it was at baseline. While at baseline, central government sources appeared in 25% of
the stories, at midline, their share decreased to 17%; Instead, more stories quoted local government
officials.

As Figure 9 illustrates, sourcing went from being dominated by just four categories of voices
(central government officials, ministers, affected people and MPs) at baseline, to a much more
diversified menu of voices that included more experts (from 5.2% to 10% of stories), NGO/Civil
Society representatives (3.5% to 8%), more local government officials (3.2% to 7.6%) and more
voices from private companies (4.1% to 8.2%).

Figure 8: Trend in Distribution of Sources in Midline and Baseline


Coverage of Public Affairs

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

The Framing of Public Affairs Issues


Three measures were employed to determine how public affairs issues were framed. These were
the type, drivers, and tone of coverage. On the face of it, as Table 15 demonstrates, it would appear
counterintuitive that the bulk of the coverage was issuebased yet about 60% of the stories as
already noted were approached conventionally. What this suggests is that conventional reporting
is most journalists’ default approach even when the issues they are dealing with require and
deserve more sophisticated treatment.

Table 15: Type of Coverage by Publication


Coverage Type Publication (%)
Daily Monitor New Vision Independent Observer Total
Issuebased 54.1 60.3 90.0 71.4 60.0
Eventbased 22.1 22.5 3.3 14.3 20.8
Combination 23.8 17.2 6.7 14.3 19.2

The midline study introduced a new aspect that looked at the drivers of coverage. This essentially
refers to the inherent factors or conditions as they apply to a situation and appear to have motivated
the coverage of a particular story. For instance, the decision to report about a school that is in a
state of disrepair or a botched public procurement contract would be treated as a negative driver of
coverage if the intention is to expose negligence or wrongdoing. On the other hand, the underlying
rationale for covering the same story could be a positive driver if the journalist’s motivation is to
spotlight the steps being taken to address the situation. Examining the drivers of coverage is
important because the media has often been criticised for contributing to people’s apathy towards
public affairs because of being overly focused on negative development and ignoring or playing
positive development. The findings summarized in Table 16 do not fully support the notion that
the media is too negative. On the whole, slightly more than half of the coverage was either neutral
or positive. This is a more balanced picture than the critics of the media usually assume.

Table 16: Drivers of Coverage by Publication


Coverage Publication (%)
Drivers Daily Monitor New Vision Independen t Observer Total
Negative 49.2 39.8 50.0 29.2 42.0
Neutral 33.1 34.8 33.3 35.3 34.2
Positive 17.7 25.5 16.7 35.6 23.8

The study examined the tone of the coverage, which in this case meant the journalists’ attitude
or posture visàvis the subject of their interest. The study found that 86% of the midline coverage
carried a neutral tone (see Table 17). This implies that the coverage adopted an indifferent posture
towards the subject of interest, notwithstanding that a significant amount (42%) of the coverage,
as noted above, was negatively driven. Conversely, as the results reported in Table 18 show, a
relatively smaller proportion of baseline coverage was conducted with a neutral tone (42.9%)
compared to 86% for the midline. The trend indicates a significant drop of the negative tone from
32.1% at baseline to 3.4% at midline. Negative stories are adjudged to be critical in response to the
subject of coverage. These are likely to be contentious issues especially those involving the use or
abuse of public resources.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Table 17: Tone of Midline Coverage by Publication


Coverage Publication (%)
Tone Daily Monitor New Vision Independent Observer Total
Neutral 87.2 86.5 100.0 80.9 86.1
Positive 8.2 10.9 0.0 16.1 10.5
Negative 4.6 2.6 0.0 3.0 3.4

Table 18: Tone of Baseline Coverage by Publication


Coverage Publication (%)
Tone Daily Monitor New Vision Independent Observer Total
Neutral 30.1 51.1 79.5 42.2 42.9
Positive 17.1 31.5 10.9 32.7 25.0
Negative 52.8 17.4 9.6 25.1 32.1

The analysis went further to compare the tone of coverage among the different public affairs.
Reporting about science and technology stands out as being the most overtly positive in tone while
the coverage of energy had a slightly higher proportion of stories that carried an overtly negative
tone (see Table 19). The trend indicates that sectors which were projected in negative light at the
baseline point (see Table 20) fared much better at the midline. For example, local government
which had 43.3% of stories carrying a negative tone at baseline saw a drop to just 1.3% of negative
stories at midline. The proportion of negative coverage also dropped significantly from baseline
to midline with regard to justice, law, and order as well as health, land and property, education,
and parliament.

Table 19: Comparison of Public Affairs Issue by Tone of Coverage at


Midline
Issue Tone (%)
Negative Positive Neutral
Local Government 1.3 5.0 93.8
Parliament 3.2 4.8 92.1
Extractive Industry 8.8 91.2
Agriculture 4.2 16.7 79.2
Land and Property 2.3 7.8 89.8
Water and Environment 5.8 14.2 80.0
Energy 6.9 15.5 77.6
Justice, Law and Order 4.2 3.0 92.9
Transport and Public Works 2.9 8.6 88.5
Health 3.2 15.1 81.7
Science and Technology 2.6 21.1 76.3
Education 2.8 17.4 79.9
Total 3.4 10.5 86.1

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Table 20: Comparison of Public Affairs Issue by Tone of Coverage at


Baseline
Issue Tone (%)
Negative Positive Neutral
Local Government 43.3 6.0 50.7
Parliament 30.7 15.6 53.7
Extractive Industry 14.2 39.8 46.0
Agriculture 22.4 42.7 35.0
Land And Property 33.9 11.9 54.2
Water And Environment 32.1 29.5 38.4
Energy 25.6 30.8 43.6
Justice, Law And Order 38.3 14.2 47.5
Transport And Public Works 20.4 43.1 36.5
Health 38.9 31.0 30.1
Science And Technology 6.6 41.0 52.5
Education 31.8 27.2 41.1
Total 32.1 25.0 42.9

Quality of Reporting and Use of Data


One of the measures used to determine the quality of reporting was the origin of stories about
public affairs. This was meant to provide a sense of the part that pull factors (the intrinsic
newsworthiness of stories) and push factors (external influences) play in journalists’ decision
making about which stories to pursue and bring to the public’s attention.

The study found that about onethird (33.5%) of the coverage was triggered by Independent
reporting (see Table 21). This constitutes the journalistic conditions that are more likely to nurture
investigative and enterprise reporting, which do not happen as commonly as they ought to in the
coverage of public affairs by the Ugandan press. The results also reveal a disturbing shortage of
datadriven stories.

As a caveat, it should be noted that it is not always possible to create surefire boundaries between
some of the categories created to measure story origin. For instance, nothing stops a story whose
origin is Independent reporting from being informed by data analysis. Likewise, a news conference
could be the spark for a journalist’s Independent reporting. To a certain extent, therefore, these
categories are used for convenience and some may not be prima facie mutually exclusive. For
the purposes of this study, however, story origin is defined as the primary trigger for a story that
motivated the coverage in the first place.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Table 21: Story Origin


Origin of the story Frequency Percent
Independent reporting 713 33.5
Event or activity by central or local government 543 25.5
News conference 402 18.9
Spontaneous newsworthy event 287 13.5
Official report/document 250 11.7
Court, legal/judicial proceedings 238 11.2
Event or activity by entities other than government 211 9.9
Parliamentary proceedings 185 8.7
News release 68 3.2
Independent academic 55 2.6
Others 25 1.2
Data analysis 4 0.2
Total 2,981 100

The picture that the breakdown of story origin by publication paints (see Table 24) sheds light on
how newsrooms allocate their editorial resources. For example, the fact that Daily Monitor generates
more public affairs stories from courts and legal/judicial proceedings than any other media house
reflects the scale of its commitment to this institution as a source of public information.

Table 22: Comparison of Story Origin by Publication


Origin of the story Publication (n) Total %
Daily
New Vision Independent Observer
Monitor
Independent reporting 249 288 24 152 23.9% (713)
Event or activity by central
178 296 5 64 18.2% (543)
or local government
News conference 157 186 5 54 13.5% (402)
Spontaneous newsworthy 143 131 0 13 9.6% (287)
Official report/document 96 108 4 42 8.4% (250)
Court, legal/judicial
140 73 2 23 7.9% (238)
proceedings
Event or activity by entities
71 82 2 56 7.1% (211)
other than government
Parliamentary proceedings 84 88 2 11 6.2% (185)
News release 27 24 0 17 2.3% (68)
Independent academic 17 18 3 17 1.8% (55)
Others 16 4 1 4 0.8% (25)

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

Data analysis 2 0 0 2 0.1% (4)


Total (no. of observations) 1,180 1,298 48 455 2,981
Cases (story count) 845 929 29 327 2,130

CONCLUSION
The midline phase of this longitudinal research that aims at monitoring and analysing the coverage
of public affairs by the Ugandan media has, in addition to generating vital data, provided an
opportunity to refine the content analysis methodology and tools designed for the project.

Between the baseline period (July 2013 June 2014) and the midline (July 2014 June 2015), the
volume of stories on public affairs increased substantially. In both periods, the volume of stories
wanes with the government financial year. However, in the midline period, editorial interest
picked up well ahead of the new financial year. This is a behavioural positive, signifying that
perhaps editors and journalists are taking to covering public affairs more proactively than merely
in reaction to the reading of the budget and start of the government financial year in July.

In the midline analysis, the justice, law and order sector; education, health and the parliament
remain the most covered public affairs issues as was the case at baseline. However, there are
significant spikes in coverage of public works and local governance. The spike in local governance
coverage is of particular interest to the African Centre for Media Excellence. In the past two years,
with support from the Democratic Governance Facility, we have dedicated huge efforts and
resources towards training journalists on covering this level of government.

Shifts in sourcing between the midline and baseline period are mixed. While sourcing effort
as evidenced by number of stories quoted appears to have fallen, at the same time, the voices
represented became more diverse in the midline period. Sourcing at baseline was mostly divided
between central government officials, ministers, members of parliament and affected persons. At
midline, this skew was even out to include more expert, civil society and local governance sources.
What remains the same is the low representation of women’s voices, especially as authority voices.
Journalistic sourcing approaches gender parity in voices of victims, eyewitnesses and persons
on the street but is very skewed in favour of male voices when the source is being quoted as an
expert, professional or person in authority.

Public affairs are most comprehensively illuminated through ‘day 2 journalism’, where journalists
follow up on news that spontaneously broke, using investigative, interpretive and enterprise
reporting, as opposing to conventional reporting. The proportion of stories that employ non-
conventional reporting methods increased from 23% at baseline to 39% at midline, a considerable
improvement. Obviously, there is still room for improvement towards a 50/50 split or higher in
favour of the deeper methods.

Encouragingly, the bulk of public affairs coverage (60%) is issue based, as opposed to event based.
It seems counterintuitive in light of the observation above that a similar proportion is reported
conventionally. What this suggests is that conventional reporting is most journalists’ default
approach even when the issues they are dealing with require and deserve more sophisticated
treatment.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

We continue to see a near complete absence of datadriven reporting; 0.1% of stories originated
from data analysis. At first glance, this is at odds with the fact that journalists actually are making a
commendable effort at originating most of their stories from Independent reporting (35% of stories)
as opposed to taking their lead from news conferences, released reports and the like. The fact that
even with Independent reporting, journalists turn to their source connections first, rather than data,
points both to the still prevailing low skills for data analysis for journalist but also the scarcity of
open data on Uganda’s public affairs. From ACME’s experience in promoting the adoption of data
journalism, the data culture in Uganda’s public sphere remains significantly behind the times.
Government agencies, including the Uganda Bureau of Statistics itself, continue to release public
data in impenetrable pdf reports, as opposed to machine readable formats (e.g csv, json, spss,
stata etc) that would make third party analysis easier. Relatedly, this data is released as condensed
tables in these reports, rather than microdata that third parties could interrogate on different
levels than is revealed by the research reports. This data culture makes data driven reporting
laborious (converting pdfs, cleaning data etc) and unrewarding given the limited depth of the
data itself. Promoting the adoption of data journalism therefore will have to involve significant
investment in acquiring and publishing public interest data at the depth and in the formats that
make analysis by third parties more appealing.

On the logistical level, this research project continues to contend with the lack of newspaper
and magazine records in formats such as electronic archives that have userfriendly search and
retrieval functionalities which would facilitate efficient access. Whereas all the publications in the
study have websites, not all content is consistently available online. Besides, retrieval options that
limit or preclude access to electronic replicas of pages as published make it difficult to reliably
observe certain structural features of the content, thus making the related variables impractical
to measure. Consequently, the research depends entirely on timeconsuming and cumbersome
manual search and coding methods.

The midline phase had originally been expanded and designed to cover radio content on a pilot
basis. But considering that the data was being gathered ex post, availability of audio records
presented serious challenges. Whereas the Uganda Communications Commission requires radio
stations to keep records of their programmes for two years, the reality is that very few stations
do or have the capacity to do regular and systematic storage of their programmes. Given this
constraint, the radio component of the study was put on hold for reconsideration under plans for
the subsequent phases of the project that will explore coverage from July 2015 to June 2016 and
between July 2016 to June 2017.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

ANNEX: THE CODING SCHEME


Using the story as the unit of analysis, the study draws on a random sample of public affairs
stories published by four news publications during the 12month period of July 2014 to June 2015.

OPERATIONAL DEFINITIONS
1. Local government: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating
from local governments collectively or individually and their constituent geographical
units (districts, counties, subcounties, parishes, villages, cities, municipalities, towns),
administrative entities (councils, boards, committees), service delivery functions, public
mandates (constitutional, legal, policy, regulatory), state and nonstate actors (in elective and
nonelective offices and positions), and state and nonstate institutions (public, private, non­
governmental, communitybased).

2. Parliament: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating


from the national legislature as a whole and its elected members, organs and staff, its public
mandates (constitutional, legal, policy, regulatory), citizens, as well as state and nonstate
actors and institutions.

3. Extractive industry: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or


originating from activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state and non-
state actors and institutions related to or involved in the oil, gas, and mineral sectors.

4. Agriculture: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating


from activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state and nonstate actors
and institutions related to or involved in farming and livestock. This includes all forms of
agriculture and the support systems on which farming and livestock production depend.

5. Land and property: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or


originating from occupation of or settlement on land and property (private and public) as
well as activities, laws, regulations, policies, and institutions related to physical land mass
and the structures on it such as buildings, real estate, construction, rights, ownership, and
management.

6. Water and environment: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or


originating from water bodies and environmental resources, activities, laws, regulations, and
policies as well as the people, authorities, and institutions responsible for the management of
water and environmental resources. This includes all forms of nature, the ecosystem, wildlife
and activities that take place on water and in the natural environment as well as issues to do
with the exploitation or use of these natural assets.

7. Energy: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating from


activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state and nonstate 36 actors and
institutions involved in the development, production, management, and consumption of all
forms of energy (hydro, solar, renewable, nonrenewable). This includes the entire energy value
chain from development of infrastructure and generation to transmission and distribution.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

8. Justice, law and order: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or
originating from activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state and non-
state actors and institutions involved in the functions of courts and agencies or organisations
concerned with human rights, the administration of justice, and the rule of law including their
officers, administrators, as well as enforcement personnel, bodies and mechanisms.

9. Transport and public works: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting,
or originating from activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state and non-
state actors and institutions involved in the development, management and use of all forms
of transport and public works infrastructure and services. This includes public and private
transportation services and systems as well as motorised and nonmotorised transport systems
and facilities on land and water and in the air such roads, airports, shipping, and railways.

10. Health: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating from
activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state and nonstate actors and
institutions involved in the development, management and use of all forms of health facilities,
systems and services such as public and private hospitals and health centres for the general
physical condition of the population. This includes personnel who work in and manage the
health system and sector such as administrators and service providers, quality of life and
access to treatment, disease and outbreaks and health infrastructure.

11. Science and technology: Research, inventions, innovations and discoveries in the various
fields of basic and applied science and technology including information and communication.
This includes issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating
from activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state and nonstate actors and
institutions involved in the production, management, regulation, and control of the process
and utilisation of scientific and technological knowledge, services and outputs.

12. Education: Issues, occurrences, and developments concerning, affecting, or originating from
activities, laws, regulations, policies, authorities, as well as state and nonstate actors and
institutions related to or involved in all aspects of the formal and informal education systems.
This includes schools, institutions of higher learning, methods of learning, the learners, the
system of examination and certification, scholastic materials and structures, skills and the
quality of the school system.

CONTENT UNIVERSE
The content universe consists exclusively of articles that conform to one of four reporting
approaches associated with the coverage of public affairs:

Under conventional reporting, factfinding is the dominant posture with common characteristics
such as the following: spot or hard news that tends to focus on events; generally onedimensional;
neutral and often uncritical transmission of facts; tendency to assign equal weight to all positions;
faithful recording of the observed event or issue; suppression of the journalist’s prior knowledge
of the subject; the journalist’s role is passive and often reactive; depends largely or entirely on
material provided by others; and tends to be eventcentred.

Under interpretive reporting, explanation is the dominant posture with common characteristics
such as the following: factual observation; balanced presentation of pertinent background and
contextual information; goes beyond the immediate event by adding meaning to complex news
situations; explains change and relates events to each other; full or multidimensional story “in

32
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

which the reader gets both an accurate account of an event or situation and enough additional
information to assure understanding” (Hage et al., p.18); the journalist is proactive – often initiates
coverage rather than wait for events; and tends to be processcentred.

Under investigative reporting, exposition is the dominant posture with common characteristics
such as the following: the story is the journalist’s original initiative; depends on material gathered
or generated through the reporter’s own effort; reporting uncovers information that an individual
or entity may have tried to conceal from public scrutiny, or information that an individual or
entity may have had an interest in keeping out of the public domain; resources and evidence
used by the journalist are clearly discernible; evidence of strong documentation (the paper trail)
and sourcing; “involves exposing to the public matters that are concealed – either deliberately by
someone in a position of power, or accidentally, behind a chaotic mass of facts and circumstances
that obscure understanding. It requires using both secret and open sources and documents”
(Hunter et al., p.7).

Under enterprise reporting, the story is of the journalist’s own initiative and effort. The coverage
follows more leads than the usual straight news story and depends on material gathered or
generated through the reporter’s Independent efforts. Enterprise stories generally use the creative
style to explore issues in greater depth usually with the aid of narrative or literary techniques.
These stories are traditionally presented as features. Instead of focusing on breaking news,
enterprise stories focus on the forces that shape the events that may or may not be in the news.
Enterprise reporting tends to emphasize the human interest angle and to focus on discovering and
explaining patterns and trends that may lie behind reported episodes or events.

PRINT MEDIA CODING SCHEME


Variable Variable Codes Coding Instructions
Description
1 Title of Formal 1. Daily Monitor Saturday and Sunday editions
publication name of the of Daily Monitor and New
2. New Vision
publication Vision are considered under
under review. 3. Independent their mother titles.
4. Observer
2 Frequency of Publication 1. Daily The Observer (a triweekly) and
publication cycle of the The Independent (a weekly)
2. Periodical
newspaper are treated as periodical
or magazine publications.
under review.
3 Date of The date Enter the date using the format There are two exceptions:
publication on which dd/mm/yy The Observer uses a twoday
the article timeframe for its dates e.g.
identified Monday, October 01 – 02, 2014.
appears. Code the first day indicated
as the date of publication i.e.
01/10/14. The Independent uses
a weekly timeframe of dates
e.g. November 07 – 12, 2014.
Code the first day indicated
as the date of publication i.e.
07/11/14.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

4 Page The page Enter the page number If the story is flagged on the
number on cover but the substantive body
which the of the story is inside, code the
main headline page (in this case 1) on which
of the story the main headline appears
appears. even if the substantive body of
the story begins on an inside
page.
5 Public affairs The public 1. Local government Scan the headline and body
issue affairs topic of the story to determine its
2. Parliament
covered. main thrust and choose the
3. Extractive industry topic(s) that best capture(s)
4. Agriculture the dominant issue(s) covered.
It’s possible that a story
5. Land and property substantively touches on more
6. Water and environment than one topic. Code all that
apply.
7. Energy
8. Justice, law and order
9. Transport and public works
10. Health
11. Science and technology
12. Education
6 Subject of the What the Summarize and describe what the The intro/lead or first
story article is about. story is about in no more than 20 paragraphs normally capture
words. the core subject of the story.
Scan the headline and body
of the story to determine its
primary subject.
7 Reporting The journalistic 1. Conventional Scan the story identified
approach format of the to determine the generic
2. Interpretive
story. reporting approach that best
3. Investigative captures the journalistic style
4. Enterprise employed in its production
and presentation.
8 Position of Story 1. First lead Compare the relative
the story prominence prominence of all stories on
2. Second lead
in relation to the same page on which the
stories on the 3. Third lead story identified appears and
same page. 4. Other determine its place in the
hierarchy. The most prominent
is treated as the first lead. Code
‘other’ if the story identified is
not among the top three.
9 Geographical The reference Name the district(s) where the main Identify the main district(s)
focus of the point for subject of the story takes place. where the subject of the story
story the primary takes place as indicated by the
subject that dateline or as deduced from the
the story deals events or issues covered. Does
with. the subject of the story affect
the livelihoods of people or
concern matters in the selected
district(s)? It’s possible that a
story covers issues or affects
people in more than one
district. Code all that apply.
Code “General” if the story’s
reference point is the country
as a whole.

34
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:
10 Individual The people Name: These are the people who
focus of the who are the Role: perform actions important to
story target of Gender: the story or are the subject of
the story or 1=Male a substantial amount of the
reason for 2=Female coverage. It’s possible that a
the coverage. 3=Unknown story focuses on more than
These could 4=Not Applicable one individual. Code all that
be individuals Age: apply.
or groups Enter the actual age if it’s mentioned Examples:
of people. in the story. Name: Yoweri Museveni
{multiple 888=Unknown (if not mentioned in Role: President of Uganda
response} the story) Gender: 1
999= Not Applicable (if focus of the Age: 72
story is a group of people) Name: Makerere students
Role: Striking over tuition hike
Gender: 4
Age: 999
11 Institutional The entity Enter the name of These are the entities that
focus of the which is the entity perform actions important to
story the target of or the story or are the subject of a
reason for the substantial amount of the
coverage. coverage. It’s possible that a
story focuses on more than one
entity. Code all that apply.
1 Origin of the The basis of 1. Data analysis Identify the primary trigger for
the the story. It’s possible that a
2 story 2. Independent reporting, research
coverage. story has more than one
or investigation by the
{multiple known
journalist
response} trigger. Code all that apply
3. News conference based on the information
provided in the story.
4. News release
5. Spontaneous newsworthy
occurrence
6. Academic or professional
research, report or study
7. Official report or document
by or on behalf of a public or
private entity
8. Parliamentary proceedings
9. Court, legal or judicial
proceedings
10. Public sector event (activity by
central or local government)
11. Private sector or non-
governmental event (activity
by entities other than
government e.g. companies,
NGOs, international
organisations, private
organisations, etc)
12. Other (specify)

35
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

13 Type of Where 1. Eventbased Coverage of news and current


coverage coverage is affairs can be about events that
2. Issuebased
event or issue- are unfolding or have recently
based. 3. Combination of event and unfolded (a.k.a. hard news); or
issue about underlying issues that
may or may not have arisen
from news events. Stories
presented as events are said to
be ‘episodic’ because they are
treated as isolated occurrences
and coverage is timebound.
On the other hand, stories
presented as issues are said
to be ‘thematic’ because they
portray issues in their broader
context and coverage is not
dictated by immediacy.
14 Drivers of The nature of 1. Negative Is the article motivated or
coverage the triggered by behavior, actions,
2. Positive
underlying developments, occurrences,
motivations 3. Neutral conditions, or matters that
for the need correction (negative),
story. affirmation (positive), or pose
no threat to society or the
environment (neutral)?
15 Tone of The journalist’s 1. Negative The tone conveys the journalist
coverage attitude visavis or media outlet’s attitude
2. Positive
the subject of towards the subject being
coverage. 3. Neutral covered. The tone is negative
when the article in general
is reported in a posture or
uses language that is critical
of or questions or discounts
a particular development or
issue or the actors involved.
The tone is positive when the
article in general expresses
promise
about or celebrates a particular
development or issue or the
actors involved. The tone
is neutral if the article has
more or else equal measures
of negative and positive
sentiments or if it
is neither negative nor positive.

36
Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda:

16 Sources These are the 1. Affected person or victim Indicate the gender of every
individuals to person who is interviewed or
2. Perpetrator
whom from whom information is
any 3. Person “on the street” or sought.
information eyewitness to an event i
Includes cabinet ministers and
and 4. President ministers of state
views in the ii
Includes civil servants of a
article 5. Vice President central government ministry,
are directly or 6. Ministeri department or agency
indirectly iii
Includes civil servant of a
attributed. 7. Central government officialii local
{multiple 8. Local government officialiii government department,
response} agency or council
For each item, 9. Expertiv iv
Includes individuals from
code 10. Politician whom information is sought
the gender as because of their specialised
follows: 11. Member of Parliament knowledge of the subject or
Gender: 12. Business person or issue covered, or because of
1=Male entrepreneur their ability to comment
2=Female authoritatively on the issue or
3=Unknown 13. Company official or situation covered
4=Not representative iv
Includes elected or
Applicable 14. NGO official or representative nonelected political actor at the
national or local level who
15. International organisation does
official or representative not hold a central or local
16. Cultural leader or government position)
representative Code all that apply.
17. Community leader or
representative
18. Civil society actor
19. Law enforcement personnel
20. Defence, national or security
personnel
21. Anonymous or unknown
22. Religious leader or
representative
23. Other (specify)

37
Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Baseline Study of Press


Coverage of Public
Affairs in Uganda
Round 1: July 2013-June 2014

SUMMARY: Using the methods of content analysis and case study analysis, the
study generated baseline evidence on media practices and performance in terms of
the quantity and quality of public affairs coverage by Uganda’s mainstream press
between July 2013 and June 2014. The publications of interest were: Daily Monitor;
New Vision; The Independent; and The Observer. The public affairs issues explored
were: Local government; Parliament; Extractive industry; Agriculture; Land and
property; Water and environment; Energy; Justice, law and order; Transport and
public works; Health; Science and technology; and Education.

RESEARCH TEAM:

George W. Lugalambi (PhD); Charlotte K. Ntulume; Edward Ssekika; Harriet Anena;


Joan Akello; Justin D. Emedot; Mark K. Muhumuza; Paul Mubiri; Raymond Baguma

iii
Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

CONTENTS

1.0 INTRODUCTION 2

2.0 PURPOSE OF THE RESEARCH PROJECT 3

2.1 Objectives of the research project 3


2.2 Research Questions for the baseline study 3

3.0 METHODOLOGY 4

3.1 Research design 4


3.2 Content analysis 5
3.3 Case study analysis 7
3.4 Limitations of the study 8

4.0 PRESENTATION AND DISCUSSION OF RESULTS 9

4.1 The distribution of public affairs coverage 9


4.2 Media priorities in the coverage of public affairs 10
4.3 Approaches to public affairs reporting 12
4.4 The framing of public affairs issues 15
4.5 Voices represented in public affairs discourse 15
4.6 Quality of reporting and use of data 19

5.0 CONCLUSION 32

ANNEXES:

Annex 1: Coding scheme 33


Annex 2: Summary list of case studies 38
Annex 3: Case study analysis criteria 40
Annex 4: Text of stories used as case studies 43

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

1.0 Introduction
To function effectively as active participants in the polity, citizens need to be informed and educated
about public affairs. To cope with the challenges, exploit the opportunities, and navigate the demands
of daily life beyond their immediate observable environment, the public needs comprehensive, timely,
and accurate information to make both routine and momentous decisions and judgements. These
include decisions ranging from mundane consumer choices about goods and services to relatively
complex social and political preferences and judgements about the success or failure of a policy.

The rapid expansion of information resources and rise of competing delivery outlets are both a blessing
and a burden for producers and consumers of news and knowledge about public affairs. In Uganda as
elsewhere, citizens rely on the media for the civic intelligence they need to make sense of the world.
Journalists therefore bear a unique responsibility, some would say burden, of defining, processing, and
presenting information about public affairs to their readers, listeners, viewers, and followers.

For the purposes of this study, the term public affairs was used to refer to issues of public interest that
citizens have a right to know about and which affect their livelihoods and the exercise of their rights
and duties as citizens. As Hage and his colleagues (1983, p.2) explained in their trailblazing journalism
text of the time, the coverage of public affairs includes “anything that affects the public or is related to
the public interest.”1

Accordingly, this study focused on 12 priority public affairs issues that were prescribed by ACME,
namely:

1. Local government
2. Parliament
3. Extractive industry
4. Agriculture
5. Land and property
6. Water and environment
7. Energy
8. Justice, law and order
9. Transport and public works
10. Health
11. Science and technology

12. Education
The study tracked the coverage of these issues, measured it on a range of news and editorial attributes,
and assessed the extent to which the reporting met the standards of best practice in public affairs
journalism. Various aspects of the coverage were examined, including its distribution, volume, scope,
fabric, and trend over time.

1 George S. Hage, Everette E. Dennis, Arnold H. Ismach, & Stephen Hartgen (1983). New Strategies for Public
Affairs Reporting, 2nd ed., Englewood Cliff, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall, Inc.

1
Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

2.0 Purpose of the research project


This study is the foundation of a three-year research project – 2013 to 2016 – that aims to track long-
term coverage of public affairs by the Ugandan media. Even as the first round focuses on the press and
selected themes, there are plans to expand future studies to include the electronic and digital media
(online and social platforms) and other public affairs issues.

Approached in part as a pilot, the study is also intended to test the utility of the research design
employed. The idea is to promote and contribute to the standardisation of a methodology that is robust
and replicable in future research on public affairs in the media, whether under or beyond this project
or by other researchers.

The project in general will fill an apparent gap due to the absence of systematic evidence to support
informed analysis and public debate of media practices and performance. It is anticipated that the data
and information generated will be valuable to media practitioners, editorial decision makers, analysts,
policy makers, students, consumers, and advocates for various public interest causes.

The objectives outlined below signal the overall direction of the project, while the research questions
that follow indicate the specific areas of examined by the current study.

2.1 Objectives of the research project


1) To develop and pilot a rigorous methodology that is scalable for use in future monitoring of
and research on public affairs coverage.

2) To gather empirical evidence of the quantity, quality, scope, and nature of public affairs
coverage by the Ugandan media.

3) To provide baseline data and information for use in measuring and assessing future coverage
of public affairs.

4) To appraise the factors that account for the patterns observed as well as the conditions that
foster and those that impede the coverage of public affairs.

5) To assess the extent to which the media set the agenda on the national conversation about
public affairs.

2.2 Research Questions for the baseline study


1) What is the distribution of public affairs coverage?

2) What public affairs do the media prioritise in their coverage?

3) How are public affairs stories presented to audiences?

4) How are public affairs issues framed?

5) Whose voices are represented in media discourse on public affairs?

6) What is the quality of reporting on public affairs including the use of data?

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

3.0 Methodology
3.1 Research design
The study was designed as a census of the entire population of public affairs stories published over a
period of 12 months – July 2013 to June 2014 – by Uganda’s mainstream national news publications,
namely:

1) Daily Monitor
2) New Vision
3) The Independent

4) The Observer

The sample consisted exclusively of stories that conformed to one of three archetypal reporting formats
associated with the coverage of public affairs, that is:

1) Conventional
2) Interpretive

3) Investigative

Under the conventional reporting format, fact-finding is the dominant posture with common
characteristics such as the following: spot or hard news that tends to focus on events; generally one-
dimensional; neutral and often uncritical transmission of facts; tendency to assign equal weight to
all positions; faithful recording of the observed event or issue; suppression of the journalist’s prior
knowledge of the subject; the journalist’s role is passive and often reactive; depends largely or entirely
on material provided by others; and tends to be event-centred.

Under the interpretive reporting format, explanation is the dominant posture with common
characteristics such as the following: factual observation; balanced presentation of pertinent background
and contextual information; goes beyond the immediate event by adding meaning to complex news
situations; explains change and relates events to each other; full- or multi-dimensional story “in which
the reader gets both an accurate account of an event or situation and enough additional information
to assure understanding” (Hage et al., p.18); the journalist is proactive – often initiates coverage rather
than wait for events; and tends to be process-centred.

Under the investigative reporting format, exposition is the dominant posture with common
characteristics such as the following: the story is the journalist’s original initiative; depends on material
gathered or generated through the reporter’s own effort; reporting uncovers information that an
individual or entity may have tried to conceal from public scrutiny, or information that an individual
or entity may have had an interest in keeping out of the public domain; resources and evidence
used by the journalist are clearly discernible; evidence of strong documentation (the paper trail) and
sourcing; “involves exposing to the public matters that are concealed – either deliberately by someone
in a position of power, or accidentally, behind a chaotic mass of facts and circumstances that obscure
understanding. It requires using both secret and open sources and documents” (Hunter et al., p.7).

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

3.2 Content analysis

Data on key editorial elements was gathered through content analysis of stories in which public affairs
issues appeared. A coding scheme – operationalised through a codebook and coding form – was
developed to guide the content analysis. It outlined the variables of interest and how the data was to
be captured.

Stories were coded on a number of variables ranging from the manifest characteristics of stories (e.g.
length, format, and prominence) to the latent features of the news narrative (e.g. source, tone, and
context). The unit of analysis was the story and each was treated as a whole unit of meaning.

The data was captured using a standard coding form that was designed as a Microsoft Access
database. Individual databases, in which the coders entered the data electronically, were created for
each publication and were subsequently merged into a master database. The statistical software Stata
was used to analyse the data.

The content analysis allowed the researchers to provide a granular and multi-faceted picture of the
nature and extent of reporting on public affairs as measured on various journalistic and structural
dimensions of coverage. The variables of interest are listed in Table 1 and the coding scheme is
presented in Annex 1.

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Table 1: List of content analysis variables


VARIABLE NAME
1 Title of publication
2 Type of publication
3 Date of story publication
4 Page number
5 Public affairs issue
6 Headline
7 Subject of the story
8 Reporting format
9 Article length
10 Position of headline on the page
11 Prominence of story on the page
12 Scope of the story
13 Focus of the story
14 Identity and occupation of the person who is or people who are the focus of the story
15 Function of the person who is or people who are the focus of the story
16 Gender of the person who is or people who are the focus of the story
17 Nationality of the person who is or people who are the focus of the story
18 Age of the person who is or people who are the focus of the story
19 Identity of the institution that is or institutions that are the focus of the story
20 Function of the institution that is or institutions that are the focus of the story
21 Origin of the story
22 Context of the story
23 Tone of the story with regard to the subject of coverage
24 Priority source 1
25 Priority source 2
26 Priority source 3
27 Priority source 4
28 Priority source 5

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

As indicated earlier, this round of the research project was conceived with the secondary objective of
testing the methodology in anticipation of its application to follow-up studies. Consequently, data on a
few select variables that have not been reported will undergo separate analysis for possible deployment
in a retooled coding scheme.

Five coders who were journalists were each assigned to collect data from the publication whose
structure they were most familiar with. This also afforded the added advantage of easy access to both
the physical and online archives of the respective media houses.

Consumption and interpretation of media texts can be prone to subjectivity. It was thus imperative for
this study to ensure that the coders interpreted the coding scheme accurately, and that they individually
and collectively applied the coding protocol consistently as instructed. The content assigned to each of
the five original coders was therefore independently double-coded by another coder and statistically
compared for uniformity through intercorder reliability (ICR) tests.

The ICR tests, which employed the Kappa statistic, were carried out on 8.5% of the stories in the
sample. Designed to determine the degree of agreement between two independent coders, the ICR for
each target variable was computed as the overall percentage agreement.

For practical considerations, the ICR checks were restricted to six key variables out of the 28 on which
data was collected. These were:

Public affairs issue


1) Reporting format
2) Scope of the story
3) Context of the story
4) Tone of the story

5) Priority source 1

As reported in Table 2, the level of intercoder reliability was generally satisfactory. The rather low
level for priority source 1 is of no particular concern considering that there were five dimensions of
this variable; in other words, each story was coded for up to five sources to ensure the highest possible
likelihood of capturing all major sources that featured in any given story.

Table 2: Results of intercoder reliability tests


Variable Agreement Kappa Conclusion
Public affairs issue 90.38% 0.888 Almost perfect agreement
Reporting format 82.98% 0.625 Substantial agreement
Scope of the story 73.0% 0.427 Moderate agreement
Context of the story 83.61 0.604 Substantial agreement
Tone of the story 64.56 0.402 Moderate agreement
Priority source 1 57.20 0.516 Moderate agreement

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

3.3 Case study analysis

To round out the picture emerging from the content analysis, nine stories were selected as case studies
and treated to in-depth qualitative analysis. The nine stories – three per reporting format – were chosen
from three themes that were of particular interest to ACME, that is: local government, parliament, and
extractive industry. The aim of the case studies was to illustrate the extent to which the targeted stories
reflected best practices in public affairs reporting. The nine stories analysed as case studies are listed
in Table 3; information about the stories is provided in Annex 2; and the case study evaluation criteria
are described in Annex 3.

Table 3: List of case studies


Reporting Format & Public Case Study Story Headline
Affairs Issue
Conventional
Local Government Leaders urge donors to reconsider aid cuts
Parliament Government tables Bill to outlaw mini skirts
Extractive Industry Regulator on the spot over oil data
Interpretive
Local Government 5 years on, local service tax remains a pipe dream
Parliament Divided Parliament - Museveni can remove Kadaga
Extractive Industry Oil compensation money splits families
Investigative
Local Government Shs 2.3 billion swindled per month, investigators show
Parliament MPs spend Shs 30bn on trips
Extractive Industry Uganda losing billions to mineral smuggling

3.4 Limitations of the study


Some media content variables are, by their nature, notoriously difficult to pin down with precision.
This study, as the ICR tests show, encountered the same challenge. For example, though satisfactory,
the levels of agreement for “scope,” “tone,” and “priority source” were statistically moderate (see
Table 2).

The manual content analysis process of coding was cumbersome, which then made it very time-
consuming in order to minimise errors. The need for efficiency in data collection necessitated
balancing between speed and accuracy. It would therefore have been impossible to achieve both
without overstretching the length of data collection considering that this was a census, as opposed to a
sampling, of the stories. Inevitably some stories could have been missed; otherwise the process would
have taken an excessive amount of time.

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

The definitions of the public affairs issues under study were in general reasonably robust, but not
entirely mutually exclusive. The nature of some stories and issues made overlaps inevitable and
practical decisions had to be made about their precise categorization. The ICR tests show almost
perfect agreement (see Table 2) but that 10% gap remains a basis for some, though not grave, concern.

It would have been instructive to analyse key demographic variables like the gender and age of the
main actors and sources in the stories sampled. In many cases, the news reports many no explicit
references to the gender or age of the actors in a story. It was therefore impossible to gather statistically
meaningful numbers for analysis that would have provided a picture of the gender and generational
patterns in public affairs coverage.

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

4.0 Presentation and discussion of


results
4.1 The distribution of public affairs coverage

The distribution of public affairs was assessed in terms of frequency of coverage as determined by the
overall quantity of stories; the amount of space dedicated to public affairs as determined by article
length; the degree of attention devoted to public affairs as determined by the trend over time; and
the comparative visibility of different public affairs issues as determined by the volume of stories
published about each issue.

As Table 4 illustrates, the study captured a total of 2,843 public affairs stories that were reported
between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014. This population of stories was the subject of analysis. Daily
Monitor and New Vision accounted for three-quarters of the coverage as expected. Beyond the mere
fact of being dailies, they also tend to position themselves as newspapers of record. On the other hand,
The Observer and The Independent carried fewer but longer stories as anticipated. As tri-weekly and
weekly publications, respectively, time and the attendant pressure to add value to stories compels
them to drill down deeper and to explore issues more widely as a matter of routine, something that
the dailies do not have to do on a day-to-day basis. In general, the length of articles across the sample
ranged from a minimum of 80 by New Vision to a maximum of 3,488 words by The Observer.

Table 4: Distribution of coverage by article length


Average Minimum Maximum
Number of Standard
Publication % article article article
stories deviation
length length length
Daily Monitor 1095 38.5 398.1 85 2071 244.8
New Vision 1045 36.8 454.0 80 2475 250.4
Observer 547 19.2 784.4 135 3488 403.2
Independent 156 5.5 1452.7 206 2980 597.8
Overall 2843 100 533.4 80 3488 432.9

Article length was derived from online word counts.

The analysis of variance (ANOVA) technique was employed to establish if there were any statistically
significant differences between article lengths and reporting formats (see Table 5). Indeed, article
lengths differed by reporting format (F = 772.37, p-value < 0.001), implying that the lengths of articles
were significantly different depending on the reporting formats used for particular stories. The analysis
revealed that the average number of words observed for stories reported using the conventional
reporting format, on the one hand, was significantly different from the average number of words for
stories reported using the interpretive and investigative formats, on the other. However, there was no
statistically significant difference between investigative and interpretive reporting formats in terms of
article length (p = 0.093).

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Table 5: Analysis of variance between article length and reporting


format
Reporting format Mean Standard deviation Media IQR Minimum Maximum
Conventional 411.5 201.9 363 228 80 1653
Interpretive 1026.3 506.5 971 614 194 3488
Investigative 1187.2 650.3 1142 1010 137 3158
Overall 563.8 422.0 418.5 377 80 3488

The trend in coverage over time, as indicated in Figure 1, showed a systematic decline from July 2013
until it started to pick up again in June 2014. This pattern can be attributed to the influence that the
national budget process has on the annual news cycle. The period leading up to the new financial year is
typically one of intense jostling for the government’s attention by various actors representing different
interests across all sectors. Agitation, lobbying, and advocacy by a wide range of interest groups that
usually converge around the national budget characteristically attract a lot of media attention. The
trend observed in public affairs coverage by the media captures the crescendo of public interest in the
national budget. Editorial interest naturally recedes soon after the public presentation of the budget as
the media agenda refocuses on other routine issues.

Figure 1: Trend analysis of public affairs coverage 2013-2014

4.2 Media priorities in the coverage of public affairs

The number of stories on the various public affairs themes varied widely, as Figure 2 shows. Overall,
education (20.8%) was the most widely reported issue; justice, law and order was a close second (19.1%)
followed by health (16.9%). Energy (2.7%), local government (2.4%), and science and technology (2.1%)
were the least reported issues.

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Figure 2: Prevalence of public affairs issues

The analysis presented in Table 6 provides a picture of the extent to which the 12 public affairs issues
of interest featured in the coverage of the four publications sampled. Education accounted for more than
20% of the coverage by three of the four publications although, in general, different issues dominated
the coverage by different outlets. The largest proportion of coverage by Daily Monitor focused on
justice, law and order (23.2%) followed by education (20.6%). New Vision paid most attention to
education (21.0%) followed by health (20.6%). The Observer focused primarily on education (25.4%)
followed by parliament (15.4%). The Independent paid most attention to justice, law and order (21.1%)
followed by health (14.7%).

Across the public affairs landscape, coverage varied widely. It ranged from as many as 592 stories
on education and 543 on justice, law and order to as few as 67 stories on local government and 61 on
energy.

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Table 6: Coverage by public affairs issue

Publication (%)
Total Overall
Public affairs issue Monitor Vision Observer Independent
(n=2843) percentage
(n=1095) (n=1045) (n=547) (n=156)
Education 592 20.6 21.0 25.4 4.5 20.8
Justice, law & order 543 23.2 17.1 14.1 21.1 19.1
Health 481 15.1 20.6 14.3 14.7 16.9
Parliament 339 14.8 7.7 15.5 7.7 11.9
Land & property 177 7.1 5.5 5.8 5.8 6.2
Agriculture 143 2.7 4.9 8.4 10.3 5.0
Transport & public
137 4.1 7.3 0.9 7.0 4.8
works
Extractive industry 113 3.0 2.4 8.6 5.1 4.0
Water & environment 112 3.1 6.0 1.8 3.2 3.9
Energy 78 3.0 2.0 2.6 6.4 2.7
Local government 67 1.6 4.3 0.2 2.6 2.4
Science & technology 61 1.6 1.1 2.4 11.5 2.1

4.3 Approaches to public affairs reporting


Conventional reporting, as the findings presented in Table 7 indicate, was the most widely applied
format in the coverage of public affairs, making up 76.7% of all coverage. Moreover, reporting by the
daily newspapers (Daily Monitor and New Vision) and the tri-weekly newspaper (The Observer) was
largely conventional, but significantly less so for the weekly magazine (The Independent). Coverage
by The Independent was by far the most interpretive, making up 78.2% of all its public affairs content.
The Observer too did more interpretive reporting than its daily counterparts. With the exception
of The Independent, investigative reporting was the least applied approach to coverage. Operating
under less deadline pressure than their daily counterparts, the tri-weekly and weekly outlets would
be expected to take a more analytical and reflective approach to their reporting on public affairs. This
would afford them the opportunity to bring relatively more depth to the issues through investigative
and interpretive reporting. This holds particularly true for the interpretive format but less so for the
investigative format.

Table 7: General coverage by reporting format


Publication (%)
Overall
Public affairs issue Monitor Vision Observer Independent percentage
(n=1095) (n=1045) (n=547) (n=156)
Conventional 89.0 78.6 69.8 3.2 76.7
Interpretive 10.1 10.5 23.4 78.2 16.6
Investigative 0.9 10.9 6.8 18.6 6.7

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

The analysis presented in Table 8 compared the coverage of public affairs in terms of the reporting
formats. All issues were predominantly covered by conventional methods. Science and technology,
energy, extractive industry, agriculture, and water and environment featured comparatively more
interpretive reporting than did other themes. Also, the investigative format appears relatively more
frequently in stories about land and property, local government, and extractive industry.

Table 8: Issue coverage by reporting format


Reporting format (%) Number of
Public affairs issue
Conventional Interpretive Investigative stories
Local government 70.1 16.4 13.4 67
Parliament 79.3 17.4 3.2 339
Extractive industry 62.8 25.7 11.5 113
Agriculture 76.9 20.3 2.8 143
Land & property 70.1 16.4 13.6 177
Water & environment 74.1 18.7 7.1 112
Energy 70.5 24.4 5.1 78
Justice, law & order 79.2 12.7 8.1 543
Transport & public works 78.8 13.9 7.3 137
Health 77.5 16.2 6.2 481
Science & technology 55.7 41.0 3.3 61
Education 80.7 14.0 5.2 592
Total 2843

Two measures of perceived impact using visibility as an indicator were employed to determine the
value or weight that the respective publications attached to the public affairs issues they covered.

The first measure was the positioning of the headline on the page where the story appeared. Stories
whose headlines were positioned above the fold were considered as carrying more weight – hence
potential impact – in the publication’s editorial judgement than those with headlines that appeared in
the middle of the page or below the fold. As reported in Figure 3, it is evident that in all cases, public
affairs stories occupied 80% of all headline space above the fold. This implies that in the perception
of editors, they were potentially of greater impact than were the other non-public affairs articles that
appeared on the same page. It should be noted, however, that this measure is not particularly, or is
less, applicable to the magazine style of The Independent whose page layout is structurally different
from that of newspapers.

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Figure 3: Headline position as an indicator of story significance

The second measure of perceived potential impact was the prominence of public affairs stories relative
to the other articles that appeared on the same page. Impact in this case was measured by ranking
the top three public affairs articles in terms of how prominently they were displayed on the page.
As indicated in Table 9, the majority of public affairs stories (65.5%) appeared as the most prominent
in comparison to all other articles they competed with for space. At 85%, extractive industry stories
stood out more than the others, while agriculture, water and environment, and science and technology
articles were the most prominent stories in more than 70% of all occurrences.

Table 9: Prominence of public affairs issues


Prominence (%)
Public affairs issue
Not prominent Second most prominent Most prominent
Local government 1.5 23.9 74.6
Parliament 8.5 25.4 66.1
Extractive industry 4.4 10.6 85.0
Agriculture 4.3 22.1 73.6
Land & property 8.0 29.0 63.1
Water & environment 5.4 21.8 72.7
Energy 9.0 19.2 71.8
Justice, law & order 11.6 28.9 59.5
Transport & public works 6.0 26.1 67.9
Health 10.1 30.4 59.5
Science & technology 1.6 21.3 77.0
Education 7.0 27.4 65.6
Total 8.1 26.4 65.5

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

To ascertain the reliability of the measures applied to some of the ‘soft’ variables included in the study,
the analysis investigated whether, for example, there was a correlation between the headline position
and story prominence as measured by article display (see Table 10). The two were found to be highly
related at the 5% level of significance based on the Pearson chi square test (χ2 = 1.102, p-value 0.001).
This implies, for instance, that going by headline position as a measure of perceived story impact,
articles with headlines that appeared above the fold were also the most prominently displayed stories.

Table 10: Relationship between headline position and story


prominence
Article display
Headline position Second most
Not prominent Most prominent Total
prominent
Below the fold 107 375 30 512
20.9 73.24 5.86 100
47.14 50.47 1.63 18.18
Middle of the fold 7 61 69 137
5.11 44.53 50.36 100
3.08 8.21 3.74 4.87
Above the fold 113 307 1,747 2,167
5.21 14.17 80.62 100
49.78 41.32 94.64 76.95
Total 227 743 1,846 2,816
8.06 26.38 65.55 100
100 100 100 100

4.4 The framing of public affairs issues


The study explored the degree to which the coverage of public affairs dealt with issues of local or
national significance or both. As the findings summarised in Figure 4 and Table 9 demonstrate,
most public affairs were covered as national issues (72%). Only local government had more public
affairs stories covered as local issues. Table 11 presents the absolute numbers behind the distribution
of public affairs coverage in terms of scope and the variations by media house. All the publications
had a national orientation in most of their public affairs coverage, with The Independent making a
categorical distinction between the local and the national.

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Figure 4: Scope of public affairs stories

Table 11: Scope of public affairs coverage by media house


Publication

Public affairs Total


Daily Monitor New Vision The Observer The Independent
issue (n=2843)

Local National Both Local National Both Local National Both Local National Local National Both

Local
11 3 3 17 18 10 - 1 - 1 3 29 25 13
Government
Parliament 3 148 11 3 77 - 3 82 - - 12 9 319 11
Extractive
5 20 8 - 21 4 8 37 2 - 8 13 86 14
Industry
Agriculture 2 20 8 8 30 13 13 31 2 3 13 26 94 23
Land &
35 18 25 14 33 11 12 17 3 - 9 61 77 39
Property
Water &
13 9 12 17 29 17 2 8 - 1 4 33 50 29
Environment
Energy 3 27 3 1 18 2 2 10 2 - 10 6 65 7
Justice, Law
59 142 53 19 143 17 14 63 - 1 32 93 380 70
& Order
Transport &
7 15 23 17 40 19 2 2 1 1 10 27 67 43
public works
Health 37 93 35 29 155 31 9 60 9 - 23 75 331 75
Science &
1 16 1 1 9 2 2 11 - - 18 4 54 3
technology
Education 16 183 27 18 184 18 20 115 4 - 7 54 489 49
Total 192 694 209 144 757 144 87 437 23 7 149 430 2037 376

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

The study examined the power dynamics in the coverage of public affairs. The measure employed
distinguished between stories that focused on issues that affected either single individuals or people
collectively and stories which targeted issues that affected either single organisations or institutions
collectively. For purposes of this study as shown in Figure 5, these categories were represented as
“single person” or “several persons” and “single institution” or “several institutions.”

According to the findings reported in Figure 5, most stories were primarily about human issues (71.1%)
while the remainder was about institutional issues. On the whole, more reporting dealt with issues that
concerned people collectively (52.2%) as opposed to individual interests (18.9%). Conversely, more
reporting focused on issues that affected institutions individually (19.5%) as opposed to collective
institutional interests (9.5%).

Figure 5: Focus of public affairs stories

Although more than half of all stories focused on people collectively (see Table 12), with the same
pattern holding across all outlets in the study, there were notable variations among the publications.
The Observer, for instance, had all of three-quarters and more of its coverage focused on people
collectively, with a negligible fraction of its stories focused on institutions.

Table 12: Focus of public affairs stories


Monitor Independent Observer Overall
Focus of the story Vision (%)
(%) (%) (%) (n=2821)*
Single person 20.6 20.8 4.0 15.7 18.9% (532)
Several persons 49.1 41.6 50.7 79.1 52.2% (1473)
Single institution 21.2 27.3 10.0 3.3 19.5% (549)
Several institution 8.8 10.3 35.3 1.8 9.5% (267)

*22 missing

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

The study sought to understand the framing of public affairs by examining the contextual frames
used to report the issues. The frames could be either episodic or thematic. As the findings presented in
Figure 6 illustrate, 75.5% of the stories were framed episodically. In contrast, only 24.5% of the reporting
was framed thematically. However, there were variations among the publications. The Independent
carried a lot more thematically framed stories (84%), while the framing of stories by the other outlets
was largely episodic: Daily Monitor 66.2%; New Vision 92%; The Observer 79.5%.

Figure 6: Issue context in public affairs reporting

The coverage of public affairs is typically about the problems of a society and the attendant policy
discourse through which solutions are debated, contested, and negotiated. In this deliberative process,
the tone the media uses to frame its coverage of public affairs has been shown to affect how citizens
attribute responsibility for the problems and issues they encounter. This study therefore used the tone
of coverage to measure whether the reporting was negative (disapproving), positive (approving) or
neutral in regard to the subject of the story.

The findings reported in Table 13 indicate that most stories had a neutral tone (42.9%). But there were
noteworthy variations among the publications, with Daily Monitor carrying a far greater proportion
of negatively framed stories, while The Independent published the largest number of stories conveyed
with a neutral tone (79.5%).

Table 13: Tone of public affairs stories


Publication (%)
Tone Overall
Daily Monitor New Vision Independent Observer
Negative 52.8 17.4 9.6 25.1 32.1
Positive 17.1 31.5 10.9 32.7 25.0
Neutral 30.1 51.1 79.5 42.2 42.9

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

The study sought to establish whether certain issues were more prone to being framed in particular
ways (see Table 14). Negatively framed stories were mostly those about local government (43.3%),
health (38.9%), as well as justice, law and order (38.2%). Positively framed stories were mostly those
related to transport and public works (43.1%), agriculture (42.7%), science and technology (41.0%), and
extractive industry (39.8%).

Table 14: Tone of the story by issue


Tone of the story (%)
Public affairs issue
Negative Positive Neutral
Local government 43.3 6.0 50.7
Parliament 30.7 15.6 53.7
Extractive industry 14.2 39.8 46.0
Agriculture 22.4 42.7 35.0
Land & property 33.9 11.9 54.2
Water & environment 32.1 29.5 38.4
Energy 25.6 30.8 43.6
Justice, law & order 38.3 14.2 47.5
Transport & public works 20.4 43.1 36.5
Health 38.9 31.0 30.1
Science & technology 6.6 41.0 52.5
Education 31.8 27.2 41.1
Total 32.1 25.0 42.9

4.5 Voices represented in public affairs discourse


As moderators of local and national discourse on public affairs, the media play a vital role in helping
citizens to deliberate upon and evaluate their political and policy preferences as well as their consumer
and livelihood choices. As gatekeepers, the media do also confer legitimacy and power to certain
people and institutions individually and collectively by highlighting their positions, issues or causes
to varying degrees of emphasis and frequency. Who gets the chance to speak or to be heard and whose
positions, issues or causes are given priority in coverage are critical matters. The study employed two
measures to establish the range of human and institutional voices that were represented in mediated
public affairs discourse.

The first measure of voice was to determine the specific collective or occupational identity as well as
the function in the story of the people or institutions that were the focus of a given story. As Table
15 indicates, 15 categories of people and institutions were identified across all stories in the sample
that had people and institutions as their primary focus. Public officials and institutions (36.2%) were
collectively dominated all other voices followed by affected people (12.2%), and MPs and the legislature
generally (11.5%).

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Table 15: Human and institutional voices represented in public affairs


discourse
Focus of the story Frequency Percentage
Public officials/institutions 1029 36.2
Affected people 348 12.2
MPs/legislature 327 11.5
Business people/companies 200 7.0
Private professionals/organisations 175 6.2
Perpetrators 152 5.4
Students 134 4.7
Workers 108 3.8
Politicians 87 3.1
Diplomats/international officials/organisations 60 2.1
Farmers 55 1.9
Non-governmental officials/organisations 54 1.9
Social group representatives/organisations 40 1.4
Civil society representatives/organisations 37 1.3
Children/youth 37 1.3
Total 2843 100

When the distribution of voices was disaggregated by media house, as reported in Table 16, the
general pattern remained the same. For all media houses except The Independent, public officials and
institutions got the most attention, with New Vision (46%) devoting nearly half of its attention to this
category of actors, the highest among all publications. The Independent, on the other hand, not only
focused mostly on business people and companies (24.4%), but outstripped all other publications in
its focus on this category too. Affected people as well as MPs and the legislature generally alternated
between second and third in ranking.

When the distribution of voices was disaggregated by reporting format, as reported in Table 17, there
were a few patterns that stood out. Stories that focused on affected people were mostly approached
through investigative reporting (20.5%); business people and companies were mainly interpretive
(11.7%); public officials and institutions were primarily conventional (38.3%); while the rest were on
the whole evenly distributed among the three reporting formats.

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Table 16: Human and institutional voices by media house


Publication (%)
Focus of the story Daily New Overall
Independent Observer
Monitor Vision
Affected people 13.5 9.3 16.0 14.3 12.2
Business people/companies 6.5 5.1 24.4 7.0 7.0
Children/youth 1.5 0.9 0.0 2.2 1.3
Civil society representatives/
1.2 1.0 3.9 1.5 1.3
org’s
Diplomats/international
1.1 2.1 5.8 3.1 2.1
officials/org’s
Farmers 1.0 1.3 6.4 3.7 1.9
MPs/legislature 12.6 9.3 7.1 14.8 11.5
Non-governmental officials/
1.2 2.1 0.0 3.5 1.9
org’s
Perpetrators 9.6 3.8 1.9 0.7 5.4
Politicians 2.3 4.1 3.9 2.4 3.1
Private professionals/org’s 4.2 7.3 3.9 8.6 6.2
Public officials/institutions 32.6 46.0 21.8 28.7 36.2
Social group representatives/
1.0 2.0 0.6 1.3 1.4
org’s
Students 5.6 3.7 2.6 5.5 4.7
Workers 6.2 2.0 1.9 2.9 3.8
Total 100

Table 17: Human and institutional voices by reporting format


Reporting format (%)
Focus of the story Overall
Conventional Interpretive Investigative
Affected people 10.6 16.4 20.5 12.2
Business people/companies 6.1 11.7 6.3 7.0
Children/youth 1.1 2.3 1.6 1.3
Civil society representatives/
1.2 1.7 1.1 1.3
org’s
Diplomats/international
2.1 1.9 2.6 2.1
officials/org’s
Farmers 1.6 4.0 1.1 1.9
MPs/legislature 11.9 12.1 5.3 11.5

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Non-governmental officials/
2.2 0.9 1.1 1.9
org’s
Perpetrators 5.9 1.7 7.9 5.4
Politicians 3.1 2.1 4.7 3.1
Private professionals/org’s 5.6 8.7 6.3 6.2
Public officials/institutions 38.3 27.0 35.3 36.2
Social group representatives/
1.4 1.3 1.6 1.4
org’s
Students 4.5 6.6 2.6 4.7
Workers 4.4 1.7 2.1 3.8
Total 100

The second measure of voice teased out of each article the five main sources quoted or cited and ranked
them on a scale of 1 to 5 from the most important (priority source 1) to the least important (priority
source 5). These were treated generally as the media’s leading sources in the coverage of public affairs
by the four publications in the sample. The ranking therefore gave us a good idea of the degree of
importance that journalists in their reporting attached to a range of sources.

The various sources detected in the coverage were classified in terms of functional categories according
to their roles in public life and in the story (as in the particular case of affected people). The president
was singled out as a category in his own right because of the unique role he plays as a newsmaker
and the significance of the presidency as an institution. The category designated as “other” consisted
of numerous sources including documents that featured in too few instances – typically fewer than 10
times at the level of priority source 1 – to be rated as noteworthy.

As the results in Table 18 show, central government civil servants (24.28%) were collectively the most
frequently used source followed by affected people (12.87%), ministers (11.59%), and MPs (10.60%).
The president (4.07%) stood out as the only individually significant source by virtue of his power as a
newsmaker. This pattern generally held across all source levels.

Table 18: Distribution of sources in public affairs coverage


Priority source 1 Frequency Percentage
Central government civil servants 687 24.28
Affected people 364 12.87
Ministers 328 11.59
Members of parliament 300 10.60
Police officers 165 5.83
Independent experts 147 5.20
President 115 4.07
Company officials 112 3.96
Civil society actors 96 3.39

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Local government civil servants 88 3.11


Politicians 77 2.72
International officials 66 2.33
Army officers 39 1.38
Business people 27 0.95
Community leaders 19 0.67
Religious leaders 17 0.60
Cultural/traditional leaders 17 0.60
Others 165 5.83
Total 2829 100

4.6 Quality of reporting and use of data


The nine stories that were the subject of the case study analysis (see Annex 2) were purposively selected
for their illustrative potential. There was no interest in being representative of all media houses in
the sample. The aim of focusing on these stories was to identify and share the positive and negative
attributes of public affairs reporting in the Ugandan press as observed in the sample of stories selected.

By going beyond the structural aspects of the coverage, which content analysis was better equipped to
handle, the case study analysis added another vital layer to our understanding of how public affairs
are covered. In fact, the limitations of content analysis made room for the case study analysis to provide
a deeper and more granular look into the fabric of public affairs stories similar to those in the study
population. The issues pointed out in the various analyses are specific, though not necessarily unique,
to each story.

The nine case study analyses are presented in the section that follows. The text of the respective stories
is available for reference in Annex 4.

CONVENTIONAL REPORTING – EXTRACTIVES

Headline: Regulator on the spot over oil data

Author: Isaac Imaka (iimaka@ug.nationmedia.com)

Publication: Daily Monitor

Date: August 18, 2013

Website: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Regulator-on-the-spot-over-oil-data/-
/688334/1958026/-/10pnjxyz/-/index.html

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Case Analysis

The reporter writes with clarity and the language is simple, with a good definition of ‘seismic data’ – an
uncommon term or jargon from the extractives sector.

The author achieves balance by speaking to officials in the company that had complained about faulty
seismic information, as well as from the Petroleum Exploration and Production Department (PEPD).
The reporter assigned both parties/positions equal weight, allowing each a complete explanation and
opportunity to clarify on the issues. The journalist simply reported the information as it was provided
by the sources, keeping his role passive and, on the face of it, neutral.

However, the story seems to have been based on inaccurate information in the first place. By stating
that PEPD was on the spot for supplying suspected faulty seismic data to oil companies, it is assumed
that the responsibility of compiling and sharing seismic data lies with this department. But, when
given an opportunity to comment, the head of the department’s regulatory unit clarified that the
institution is not responsible for conducting seismic studies, and neither is it government’s policy
to collect seismic data. He described the kind of data that the department compiles and provides to
companies, but the reporter chose to stay with the ‘wrong’ view, which he/she seems to have gathered
from the complaining company.

Conventional reporting requires the neutral transmission of facts. While the reporter seeks comments
from both sides of the story, there is evidently not as much effort to gather the facts of the matter,
besides relying on the complainant’s claims.

It appears that the story tip arose from an accuser making allegations against another party and the
reporter ought to take care not to be taken up by the former. He should not have gone ahead to accuse
the department in the story. The story could have taken another approach.

The reporter also ought to have asked the unnamed officials at CNOOC why the company has not
launched an official complaint to the petroleum exploration department – since the latter says they
have not received any official complaints from affected oil companies.

While the story is balanced and appears neutral at the face of it, the information it provides is not
complete. For instance, if it is not the duty of the petroleum exploration department to provide seismic
data, whose duty is it? Have any other companies besides CNOOC raised similar complaints? The
reporter ought to have sought out other oil companies to avoid appearing to have been used by Cnooc
in pursuit of its interests.

While the reporter should be commended for faithfully recording comments of the parties, the story
begs for more information and facts about the matter, and here, relevant documents would have been
useful in providing more complete information such as figures (e.g. what would the seismic study cost
CNOOC?) – for accuracy and completeness.

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INTERPRETIVE REPORTING – EXTRACTIVES


Headline: Oil compensation money splits families

Author: Francis Mugerwa (fmugerwa@ug.nationmedia.com)

Publication: Daily Monitor

Date: July 15, 2013

Website: http://www.monitor.co.ug/SpecialReports/Oil-compensation-
money-splits-families/-/688342/1915056/-/x5g8o8/-/index.html

Case Analysis

The reporter identified a rarely covered public affairs issue in the extractives sector – particularly oil
exploration – and communicated it in a simple, clear and interesting way. The report explains in detail,
through various voices, the gender dynamics in the management of compensation money from oil
companies and how these dynamics negatively impact on women’s livelihoods and rights, as well as
family harmony in the communities around oil sites in the Bunyoro region.

The reporter goes beyond the immediate event (which is compensation) and adds meaning to it by
showing how women have to negotiate with their spouses for the right to manage and use the money
for the collective benefit of their families, even when it is their own gardens that have been destroyed.

Perhaps the strongest facet of this report is its use of sources. The reporter made an excellent choice
of sources, asked the right questions and selected the most relevant quotes for inclusion in the story
that best explain the issue – the district community development officer and the Woman MP amply
describe the magnitude of the problem of management of compensation money.

Two women who share their personal experience bring the story home. One is reported as having
‘grudgingly’ accepted her husband’s decision: “My husband bought a goat, household items and used
the [rest of the] money to enroll for university education.” Allowing them to tell their story in their own
words is effective in showing their plight.

Another source, the secretary of the district land board, provides insight into the gender dynamics
involved in ownership of land and other property in communities in the region, with men controlling
all the wealth and married women denied any right to own family property.

Still on sources, the executive director of a non-governmental organization working on human rights
helps explain the interventions by civil society to address the disparities and to help communities
and families near oil sites live in harmony. This source also helps to highlight the social, economic,
environmental and other risks associated with gender inequities in the extractives sector. Finally,
the source from Tullow Oil and the minister responsible for Bunyoro affairs round off the picture
by explaining, respectively, the organisation and government’s plans and initiatives to address the
gender issues associated with compensation.

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Besides sources, the inclusion of simple, relevant statistics further amplifies the issue and helps readers
understand the subject and its implications at various levels: family, community and national. The
statistics include: that the district community development officehas mediated in more than 20 cases
of disagreements among couples; that only two or three of every 100 land applications received in the
district are filed by women; and the details on the volume and value of viable oil reserves in Uganda.

The reporter presented pertinent background and contextual information on oil exploration in Uganda,
from when oil deposits were discovered, where the deposits are located, how many wells have been
drilled, how much oil the country has, its value, and the companies involved in exploring it, to locating
Buliisa district on Uganda’s oil map.However, the background could have been taken higher up in the
report.

Hage et al (1983) suggest that interpretive reporting should provide the reader with “both an accurate
account of an event or situation and enough additional information to assure understanding” (p.18).

The reporter achieved this through his good selection of sources and statistics, and presentation of a
comprehensive background and context. There is sufficient evidence in the report of the journalist’s
initiative and enterprise in identifying and covering a subject outside everyday news.

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING – EXTRACTIVES


Headline: Uganda losing billions to mineral smuggling

Author: Francis Kagolo (fkagolo@newvision.co.ug)

Publication: New Vision

Date: January 25, 2014

Website: http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/651794-uganda-losing-billions-
to-mineral-smuggling.html

Case Analysis
The strength of this report is in its detailed exposé of covert information about illegal mining and
export in the extractives sector in Uganda, from resources and evidence that are clearly discernible.
The minerals in question include wolfram, gold ore, iron ore, cobalt metal and nickel hydroxide.

The journalist quotes government reports (including from previous investigations) on the mineral
sector and from these he gathers relevant context, facts and statistics for the report. There is also good
use of human sources most of who are named and all of whose voices add credence and variety to the
report.

With information from these various sources, the journalist elaborates the process through which
minerals are smuggled out of the country and the impact of this illicit activityon the economy (the
amount of money Uganda loses through smuggling in the extractives sector – e.g. while the Energy
ministry recorded only 3.9kg of gold worth Shs 3.2m produced in 2013, a source told the journalist that
one mineral explorer had smuggled 500kg of gold, worth Shs 419.2m, disguised as samples, out of the
country).

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The report demonstrates a great deal of enterprise on the part of the journalist in gathering evidence
and sourcing facts through the paper trail and interviews with government officials, agencies involved
in mineral extraction and accused of smuggling, and a police officer.He travels to mines in Kisoro and
talks to an artisanal miner, one of the mine managers and to the management of a mining company
that hires the miners – about themineral quantities extracted, the money involved in legitimate and
illegal markets, and how much is declared and concealed.

The journalist goes an extra mile in the investigation, embarking on one of the smuggling routes to
trace the smugglers’ trail and to gain a vantage point from which to observe the illicit trade. In the
process, he discovers the involvement of some sections of law enforcement agencies, including the
police and border control officials, in the racket – a plus to the investigation.

The report is specific, rather than general, stating the volumes of mineral resources smuggled,
how entities with exploration licenses are involved in illegal mining instead and smuggle out large
quantities of minerals disguised as untaxed exploration samples– causing the country huge revenue
loss in unpaid royalties. But, while the focus is on Uganda, the report includes a wider perspective,
casting a beam on other countries in the region: Tanzania and Rwanda and placing the story in a wider
context. Building the story from a local level (Kisoro district) to the national level and including a
regional perspective is effective in showing the ‘big picture’. Similarly, the report focuses on the entire
mining industry and not just on one mineral, which provides a holistic picture.

Furthermore, inclusion in the story of a section on the law – the Penal Code – and its provisions
concerning smuggling in the extractives sector helps to show the legal implications of the illicit activity.

Another tool the journalist uses is that of numbers/figures, including:quantities/volumes of minerals;


amounts of money involved; numbers of miners in mineral-rich districts such as Karamoja; trends
in mineral (gold) production over the years; the number of exploration licenses issued by the mines
department each year, compared to the total licenses issued; etc. Statistics are also used to show why
smuggling endures unabated (the mines inspection department is grossly under-funded) and how
much it would take to improve inspection and curb the vice. Generally, the use of numbers adds clarity
to the story, as it makes the information specific as opposed to general.

This report would, however, have greatly benefitted from the use of infographics, an aspect of data
journalism, to clearly show the trends in production and the process and effects of smuggling, which
it seeks to explain. The journalist ought to have gone a step further to illustrate the story, rather than
simply report numbers (volumes and monies), which appear littered all over the story – even if they
do make sense.

CONVENTIONAL REPORTING – LOCAL GOVERNMENT


Headline: Leaders urge donors to reconsider aid cuts

Author: Nelson Wesonga (nwesonga@ug.nationmedia.com)

Publication: Daily Monitor

Date: July 10, 2013

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Website: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Regulator-on-the-spot-
over-oil-data/-/688334/1958026/-/10pnjxyz/-/index.html

Case Analysis
In very few words, this story provides a clear picture of the local government leaders’ contribution at
the event (public dialogue). The story is focused and all the information provided is relevant to the
subject matter. The simplicity and clarity with which the author writes allows clear understanding of
the issues being reported.

By limiting himself to statements made at the event and directly quoting selected parties while making
their presentations, the reporter takes a passive position and reports directly from the observed event.
The parties quoted are relevant to the subject, and the dialogue presented makes the story come to life
– there is a variety of voices, including a regional leader, district leader and an official from the civil
society.

This story could, however, have been improved by, among other things, providing context to the issues
reported. The writer describes the PRDP concisely, but ought to have included some brief background
information about the funds that the Office of the Prime Minister mismanaged, who was involved,
what the impact was; and the status quo. Without this context, the reporter assumes that all the story’s
readers are familiar with the matter.

Further, while there is no potential for damage, which would have demanded that all positions
be assigned equal weight, it should have been necessary for the reporter to seek comments from
representatives of donor countries and/or agencies either present at the event or outside of it. This is
because the civil society representative in the story is quoted complaining about donors’ methods of
work. Besides ensuring fairness, this would illustrate the reporter’s quest for comprehensiveness and
accuracy.

INTERPRETIVE REPORTING – LOCAL GOVERNMENT


Headline: 5 years on, Local Service tax remains a pipe dream

Author: Edward Ssekika (ssekika@observer.ug)


Publication: The Observer

Date: March 31, 2013

Website: http://observer.ug/component/content/article?id=24513:5-years-on-
local-service-tax-remains-a-pipe-dream

Case Analysis
The story explains in great detail what local service tax is – what it comprises, how it is computed and who has an
obligation to pay it and how much they are required to pay, and who is exempted from it.

Taxation, along with its various forms and associated topics, is generally considered a complex subject. However,
the journalist successfully broke down the subject of local service tax for the readers, using sufficient background
and contextual information (to explain how it came to replace graduated tax), expounding on the provisions of
the Local Government (Amendment) Act 2008 that relate to the specific tax, and by talking to relevant officials to

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provide further clarity.

The sources used not only served to explain the tax, but also provided a local context to the story, which is
very important for reporting on local government. The sources include: the Gulu district chairman, who was a
district councilor when the tax was introduced; the district’s chief administrative officer and the shadow Local
Government minister, who is also a Member of Parliament.

The documentary sources used are the Act, the Local Government Finance Commission 2011 annual report and the
tax collection guidelines issued by the Local Government Financial Commission. The human sources interviewed,
who are local government leaders resident in the district and who, therefore directly experience the frustration,
provide a rich local perspective to the story, while the documents provide the factual basis for the analysis.

To explain the change in the status quo, the story shows the dilemma that local governments face in their inability
to finance administrative and development activities from the new tax, by, among others, describing the previous
scenario (“The abolition of graduated tax in FY 2005/2006 heavily hurt revenue collection in local governments, since the
taxed used to contribute 80% of all district revenues.”— 2nd paragraph) and quoting the district officials’ frustration
(“We welcomed the tax with a lot of expectations. I hoped it would end the local government’s financial stress,” Ojara said in
an interview, stressing that he hoped the tax would greatly enhance local revenue generation in the district.” – 3rd paragraph;
“This money can’t even help us to fund council sittings and meet our co-funding obligations,” he stressed. For instance,
Kiganda says revenues from the local service tax can’t even fund 1% of the district budget.—18th paragraph)

The reporter also uses statistics effectively to illustrate the change in revenue collection after the old tax was
abolished and a new one introduced. Consider the paragraph: ‘At its inception, local service tax was expected to
generate between Shs 67bn and Shs 80bn annually from across the country, compared to the Shs 70bn generated from
graduated tax. However, not even a quarter of the projected revenue has been realized. The Local Government Finance
Commission 2011 annual report released in February 2012, noted that the performance of LST continues to be poor with little
revenue realized.’

Financial figures are used throughout the story with similarly good effect, especially to show the various categories
of income earners and the tax they are required to pay. However, there are instances where the use of percentages
would have enriched the analysis and provided a clearer picture. Consider, for example, the sentence: ‘The act had
stipulated that business persons with a turnover of over Shs 500,000 monthly would also be eligible to pay Shs 5,000 in LST
while those with a turnover of over Shs 10m would pay Shs 100,000 annually.’ The journalist ought to have indicated
that this is a one percent (1%) tax.

Further, on financials, the use of infographics should have added visibility and clarity to the story, while also
reducing the numbers in the story (the article appears to be littered with numbers, even though they are relevant).
For example, charts could have been used to illustrate the various categories of tax payers and how much they are
expected to pay, and to show the trends in local service tax collection in the district in the context of the previously
projected revenue and, perhaps, compared to previous revenue accruing from the abolished graduated tax.

Another weakness in the story is the lack of balance in commentary from human sources. Besides the district
officials, the journalist only interviewed the shadow Local Government minister. The story should have benefited
from comments from the actual Local Government minister or other senior official(s) from that ministry or from
the ministry of Finance – to explain the government’s position on the tax and (planned) interventions to address
the gap. Comments from a tax specialist (e.g. from an audit firm) would also have provided more clarity and
additional information to assure understanding and enrich the analysis.

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INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING – LOCAL GOVERNMENT


Headline: Shs 2.3 billion swindled per month, investigators show

Author: Haggai Matsiko (hmatsiko@independent.co.ug)

Publication: The Independent

Date: July 18, 2014

Website: http://www.independent.co.ug/cover-story/9159-shs-23-billion-
swindled-per-month-investigators-show

Case Analysis
This report has immense potential for exposing gross corruption in the educations sector, particularly primary
schools in Uganda’s district. It is a follow-up on an investigation by the Ministry of Finance that found “ghost”
schools in various districts.

While neither the journalist nor his news magazine broke the story, there is evidence of the journalist’s own
initiative and effort to expand the investigation by talking to more sources and digging up the findings of previous
similar probes. The journalist also sought to advance the investigation by, initially, focusing on Butaleja district,
even though the government probe had covered several districts.

The report is rich in statistics with regard to school enrolment, numbers of teachers, school and ministry budgets,
swindled funds, etc. All these serve to indicate the magnitude of the corruption in the sector and its impact on
primary education in the affected districts and on the economy generally.

The journalist also provides extensive background of the story, placing the report in the context of several previous
audits. There is an attempt to combine interpretive and investigating reporting by breaking down the government
loss into what the money could have done for the education sector (‘The money being stolen each month is enough to
pay 5,000 secondary school teachers and 8,000 in primary’). All this serves to help the reader to trace the genesis of the
problem or issue and to understand its wider implications.

Furthermore, the report bears evidence of strong sourcing to expose the illicit activities of government officials.
There is a wide array of documentation sources (the paper trail), including probe reports and government audits.
The additional source the journalist introduces in the investigation (the general secretary of the national teachers’
union) is relevant to the story’s quest to expose graft in the teachers’ payroll – the fraudulent transfers, deletions
and reinstatement therein.

However, this case has some gaping weaknesses. First, there are too many ideas in the story, making it complex
and unnecessarily long. For instance, it was not necessary for the journalist to delve into previous probes that are
unrelated to the education sector. The tendency to jump from one probe to another, from one idea to another, and
from one source to another without making the necessary linkages breaks the story into several muddled parts
and spoils the flow. The journalist ought to have followed one idea and let a common thread run through the
story. Such a thread is absent.

Secondly, given the vastness of the story (the different probes it dwells on), there is a disturbing amount of
numbers or statistics that are difficult to follow (enrolment trends, ghost numbers, teachers’ statistics, amounts of
money, budgets, etc.).

Because figures are scattered all over the story (even though they might have a rightful place), they largely fail
to achieve their purpose of showing and not merely telling. Consider this sentence: ‘Last year, Ministry of Education

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bosses complained that while enrolment to primary increased from 8,337,069 in 2012 to 8,390,674 in 2013 and that of the
secondary, from 1,251,507 in 2012 to 1,257,378 in 2013, their budget had not changed much. They wanted more money.’

This problem (of number littering) could have been solved by better management of the data through the use
of infographics to illustrate the various trends and the disputed figures (e.g. number of pupils enrolled in
primary school in Uganda is 5,445,547 compared to the official ministry figure: 402,957). Illustrating such statistics
graphically or, at the very least, using percentages, would help readers ‘visualize’ the magnitude of the scandal
and, perhaps, increase the impact of the story.

Similarly, on sourcing, there are several sources, particularly documents and quotes from audits, that were not
relevant to the initial subject and that only serve to clutter the story. On human sources, the story mentions that
most of the “fake” pupils that are unaccounted for by the education ministry are dropped before sitting their
primary leaving examinations because the registration process is so elaborate and would expose the corruption.
However, there is no evidence of any attempt to seek out and talk to any of the affected children or their parents
– where do these children end up?

Thus, while this case is a good example of issues that can be investigated concerning local government and that
would have a huge impact on governance, there is overkill. The information overload affects the story’s quality
and impact. The information therein could have been used for two or more investigative stories.

CONVENTIONAL REPORTING – PARLIAMENT


Headline: Government tables Bill to outlaw miniskirts

Author: Yasiin Mugerwa (ymugerwa@ug.nationmedia.com)

Publication: Daily Monitor

Date: April 5, 2013

Website: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Government-tables-Bill-
to-outlaw-miniskirts/-/688334/1739768/-/p77d82/-/index.html

Case Analysis
The story is one-dimensional, focusing on a particular, single event – debate on the proposed The Anti-Pornography
Bill, 2011 in parliament. All information provided and quotes used relate to this single event. The reader is able to
tell, from reading the story, that the journalist was present during the session and observed the event first-hand.

Although this is a conventional news story, simply presenting facts and reporting from the scene, it is written with
great style, flair and creativity. The journalist uses rich language and writes inventively by weaving quotes from
the Bill into the narrative. Examples of these are in the second, third and 16th paragraphs, respectively – below:

The government is riding on its view that pornography has become such an “insidious social problem” to get the Bill through
Parliament.

It also argues that because there has been an “increase in pornographic materials in the Ugandan mass media and nude
dancing in the entertainment world”, there is need to establish a legal framework to regulate such vices.”

Responding to the members who expressed fears that the Bill might inhibit the sexual behaviours of romantic spouses or
couples, the minister said if the Bill is passed into law, pornography will not include “any act or behaviour between spouses or
couples performed in fulfillment of their conjugal rights and responsibilities, where such matters are strictly private.”

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There is sufficient evidence that the journalist thoroughly read and is well acquainted with the Bill. The story
carries detailed quotes from the document, including the definition of pornography, but because they are cleverly
interspersed within the rest of the content, it does not appear clattered and flows beautifully. The thorough reading
of the Bill, which is the subject of the story, ensures that the journalist reports the issue clearly and authoritatively
from the event, without having to include his prior knowledge of or opinion on the subject, while also keeping
his role passive.

By quoting the minister who presented the Bill, as well as MPs opposed to it or sections of it, the journalist ensures
that equal weight is assigned to all positions of the issue and that no side outweighs the other. However, there is
collective attribution when members’ views and voices are presented; not a single member is quoted by name.
Consider, for instance, the following paragraphs:

While the Bill seeks to outlaw indecent dressing among other social behaviours deemed pornographic under the legal parameters
of the Bill, the lawmakers said the lack of definition for what constitutes “decent dressing” makes the Bill awkward and asked
the government to stop curtailing freedoms in the country which could scare away tourists.

While some committee members urged that Section 166 of the Penal Code Act, Cap.120 already outlaws pornography,
the minister said the Penal Code only caters for trafficking in obscene publication yet the issue of pornography transcends
publication….

The journalist ought to have attributed specific remarks to individuals who said them – if he was faithfully
recording the observed event – and not generalised the opposing voices.

That said, this case is a good example of a conventional parliamentary story written with flair, yet without
distorting its facts, context and spirit; one that readers would definitely enjoy.

INTERPRETIVE REPORTING – PARLIAMENT


Headline: Divided Parliament - Museveni can remove Kadaga

Author: Peter Nyanzi (pnyanzi@independent.co.ug)

Publication: The Independent

Date: October 18, 2013

Website: http://www.independent.co.ug/cover-story/8341-divided-
parliament-museveni-can-remove-kadaga

Case Analysis
The reporter offers a good explanation of the impasse between the constitutional offices of the Speaker and Deputy
Speaker of Parliament. He effectively shows the link between the tensions in the two offices and the weakening of
parliament and possible negative implications on democracy in the country.

The sources (a lawyer and university professors of jurisprudence and political science) are relevant, with
competence on parliamentary operations and constitutional matters. Thus, external voices were not added for the
sake of it, but were selected for their specialty and specific relevance to the issues being explained and for their
contribution to the advancement of the argument. This helps expound on the subject matter and make a clear link
between the office of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker and the Parliament, President, as well as the country.

In his Handbook of Reporting and Communication Skills, V. S. Gupta states: “The term interpretive reporting means

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that the reporter seeks to find the implications of an event. The reporter puts the event in perspective. He tries to
bring the story in the stream of events. He explains, interprets and analyses the event, which goes beyond the strict
ambit of his duty as a reporter.”Analysis and interpretation, he says, “seek to impart a deeper understanding of
the processes of which isolated manifestations alone get noticed as news events” (Gupta 2003).

Drawing from the Deputy Speaker’s appearances on radio and television political talk shows to explain his recent
actions (which were in the news), the reporter built an analysis, exposing the individual’s ambitions and showing
their implications on the Parliament future.

However, the analysis would have been stronger with the inclusion of anecdotal evidence of the souring
relationship between the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. It is not enough to tell the readers that there is friction
between the two principals in a “divided parliament” or to read the denials from the parliament spokesperson.
The reporter ought to have included a few anecdotes of specific incidents when this rivalry came to light, and
then built these together to show the reader a trend. Such background and context would help readers connect the
events, trends and implications, thereby understanding and appreciating the issues better.

On the technical side, the analysis would make for better reading with tighter editing. It is unnecessarily long
(over 2,000 words) and repetitive in some places.

Nevertheless, the reporter presented a well explained and balanced argument, referring to previous parliaments
and speakers, and selecting good sources to help the audience understand the intricate politics around the position
of Speaker of Parliament in Uganda and its implications on the quality of legislative debate and on the broader
affairs of the country and its leadership.

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING – PARLIAMENT


Headline: MPs spend Shs 30bn on trips

Author: Sulaiman Kakaire (skakaire@observer.ug)

Publication: The Observer

Date: October 25, 2013

Website:http://observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=282
11:mps-spend-shs-30bn-on-trips&catid=78:topstories&Itemid=116

Case Analysis
The journalismfund.eu website states: “A European Parliament resolution adopted on 10 May 2012
describes investigative and independent journalism as an essential element in fighting crime, fraud and
corruption with European funds. Why? Because large-scale fraud is complex and often invisible, until
someone takes the time to research and expose it. And that’s exactly what journalists do: they search,
dig and examine. They discover, reveal, expose. They tell their stories to readers, aid organisations and
policy makers, who can then start doing what they each do best to fight those abuses.”

(See http://www.journalismfund.eu/news/fundjournalismfund)

There is substantial evidence that this story is the product of the reporter’s own initiative and effort.
The journalist effectively unpacks the issue of foreign travel of members of Parliament and the dubious

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

motives involved, uncovering facts that the subjects would undoubtedly have an interest in keeping
out of the public domain – for instance that the main motive is to earn allowances, and that some do
not even attend to the official business for which they have travelled but use the trips for shopping and
tourism.

The story has very good use of both documentary and human sources. For instance, the reporter digs
up reports tabled from previous travels and discovers that they are not compliant with the rules. The
reference to both reports and rules of procedure is powerful in showing how parliamentarians abuse
procedure at will and the clear lack of accountability for the trips financed with public funds.

The presentation of the story is also powerful, with excellent comparisons of the expenditure on travel
and what this money could do for society and the economy (e.g. paying teachers). The comparison
of expenditure over different years and different parliaments is incredible and shows (rather than
tells) the “unprecedented appetite for travel among MPs of the 9th Parliament.” The story is free of
ambiguities, stating boldly alarming figures and statistics, and saying it as it is.

The writing is of a high quality, presenting the facts and dialogue with simplicity, clarity but also flair
of language, which makes for easy but also interesting and entertaining reading. The anecdote used in
the intro, for instance, grabs the reader straight away and the clear thread throughout the story ensures
that the reader is fixed.

However, in spite of its many strengths, this story is not without weaknesses. One is that the reporter
ought to have sought comment from the leadership of a committee that is responsible for, and/or
one that could competently comment on the issue of, members’ travel, for instance the Committee on
Rules, Discipline and Privileges or the Public Accounts Committee. It appears that the MPs that the
reporter spoke to were those he could conveniently reach, and there is no mention of what makes them
competent to speak on the matter.

Furthermore, this story called for comment from the Speaker (or office of the Speaker) or Deputy Speaker
of Parliament on the issue of MPs’ travel and the associated abuse of resources procedure. Comment
from an ombudsman institution of government, such as the Inspector General of Government or the
Directorate of Public Prosecution would have made the investigation more complete, with the reporter
asking them what they were doing or planned to do about matter.

Lastly, use of graphical aids, such as charts to illustrate trends in expenditure over different years and
different parliaments, would have made the problem more ‘visual’ or visible to readers.

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

5.0 CONCLUSION

The aim of this study was to create a baseline of the state of public affairs coverage as
evident in the patterns and trends that emerged from the analysis of a year’s worth of
reporting. This study is the first phase of a longer research project that will involve a
mid-line study (July 2014 – June 2015) and an end-line study (July 2015 – June 2016).

The research design and methodology that have been piloted will be refined, improved,
and used to execute the follow-up studies. In addition, the subsequent studies will
complement the content analysis with interviews, focus group discussions, and
surveys of content producers and news consumers.

This project is the first that has attempted to examine this magnitude of media content
both quantitatively and qualitatively. The research approach and the data it has
generated have revealed the possibilities as well as the challenges involved in efforts
to understand the media’s role in public discourse on local and national affairs.

The findings show that the coverage of public affairs is reflective of the diverse range
of issues that the typical news consumer is routinely exposed to. The issues covered
by and large touch on practically every aspect of public life and policy. The findings
are instructive as they reveal both the scope (measured quantitatively) and fabric
(assessed qualitatively) of the coverage of public affairs issues that concern the day-
to-day lives of citizens and the life of the nation as a whole.

It is crucial that future iterations of the research are expanded to include the electronic
and digital media. The research design will have to be adjusted accordingly. The
fundamental elements have been tested and proven applicable to media content
broadly irrespective of the platforms on which it is generated.

Whereas the core data has been generated through content analysis, the case studies
have provided a nuanced perspective on the quality of reporting. The case study
analyses offer invaluable lessons not only about the make-up of the coverage of public
affairs, but also about effective ways to interrogate it.

Beyond the findings, it is anticipated that this study will stimulate debate and interest
in the development of a common and shared framework for analyzing media content
across all platforms. Presently, the commercial sources of such data have limited
application because they are primarily designed to serve commercial goals. A standard
approach to assessing media practices and performance in the context of the media’s
public information and civic education functions will make it possible to undertake
meaningful comparative studies across platforms, issues, sectors, and time.

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Annex 1: Coding scheme


VARIABLE NAME VARIABLE DESCRIPTION CATEGORIES & CODES
& CODING INSTRUCTIONS
1 Title of publication Formal name of the publication under review. 1. Daily Monitor
Saturday and Sunday editions, in the cases of 2. New Vision
Daily Monitor and New Vision, are subsumed 3. The Independent
under their mother titles. 4. The Observer

2 Type of publication The publications under review as distinguished 1. Daily newspaper


by their frequency and platform. 2. Tri-weekly newspaper
3. Weekly magazine
3 Date of story The date on which the article identified for dd/mm/yy
publication review appeared. Code using digits in the format
of dd/mm/yy. For example, 07/October/2014
is to be coded as 07/10/14. There are two
exceptional cases:The Observeruses a two-day
timeframe for its dates e.g. Monday, October 01 –
02, 2014. Code the first day indicated as the date
of publication i.e. 01/10/14. The Independent uses
a weekly timeframe of dates e.g. November 07 –
12, 2014. Code the first day indicated as the date
of publication i.e. 07/11/14.
4 Page number The page on which the main headline of the story
identified appears. E.g. if the story is flagged on
the cover but the substantive body of the story is
inside, code the page on which its main headline
appears, which should also be the page on which
the substantive body of the story begins.
5 Public affairs issue One of the 12 thematic areas on which the 1. Local government
research focuses. Scan the story to determine 2. Parliament
its main thrust and choose the theme that best 3. Extractive industry
captures the dominant issue covered. No single 4. Agriculture
story shall be coded as carrying more than one 5. Land and property
theme. Use the headline as a clue to determine 6. Water and environment
the main theme.
7. Energy
8. Justice, law and order
9. Transport and public works
10. Health
11. Science and technology
12. Education
6 Headline Transcribe the main headline exactly as it
appears. Do not include the sub-headline.
Copy and paste the internet link into the space
provided.
7 Subject of the story Identify the main issue that the article is about.
The intro/lead or first few paragraphs normally
capture the core issue. Summarize and describe
what the story is about in about 20 words.
8 Reporting format Scan the story identified to determine which of 1. Conventional
the three formats best captures the journalistic 2. Interpretive
approach/style employed in its production and 3. Investigative
presentation.
9 Article length Word count of the online text of the story where Number of words
it’s available or possible.

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

10 Position of headline Determine the location of the headline when the 1. Below the fold
on the page paper is folded horizontally down the middle. 2. Middle of the fold
3. Above the fold
11 Prominence of story Compare the relative prominence of the three 1. Not prominent
on the page main stories on the same page on which the story 2. Second most prominent
identified appears. If it’s neither in the first nor 3. Most prominent
second position relative to other stories on the
same page, code it as “not prominent.” Code as
‘3’ if it’s the only story on the page.
12 Scope of the story Determine the widest possible geographical 1. Local
relevance of the subject that the story deals with. 2. National
It could raise issues of purely local interest or 3. Local and national
national significance or both.But before coding it
as ‘3’, examine the story carefully to avoid opting
for this category simply as a convenient choice.
13 Focus of the story The people or institutions that are the target 1. Single person
of the story. It includes personalities or 2. Several unrelated persons
organisations or companies that speak or 3. Group of related persons
perform actions important to the story or are the 4. Single institution
subject of a significant amount of the coverage. Is 5. Several unrelated institutions
it a single individual or institution? Is it several 6. Group of related institutions
unrelated individuals or institutions affected by
or concerned about a common issue e.g. property
owners affected by a public works project or
businesses concerned about a new tax? Is it
a group of related individuals or institutions
who are organised around a common issue
e.g. doctors protesting poor pay through their
association or schools lobbying for changes in
education policies?
14 Identity and As applicable, state the name and occupation
occupation of the of the specific individual who is or individuals
person who is or who are the focus of the story. E.g. Dr. Ruhakana
people who are the Rugunda, Prime Minister; students of Kyambogo
focus of the story University; residents of Jinja town.
15 Function of the The reason why the person or people identified
person who is or in #14 is/are the focus of the story. For example:
people who are the What is the Lord Mayor doing or what is
focus of the story happening to the Lord Mayor that makes him a
person of interest in this story? What are teachers
doing or what is happening to teachers that
makes them people of interest in this story?
16 Gender of the person Code ‘male’ or ‘female’ if it’s possible to 0. Cannot tell
who is or people who determine the gender from the story. Code 1. Male
are the focus of the ‘male and female involved’ if the focus of the 2. Female
story story includes both. Otherwise code ‘0’ if it’s 3. Mixed (group of male and
impossible to tell the gender. female individuals)
17 Nationality of the Code ‘Ugandan’ or ‘foreigner’ if it’s possible to 0. Cannot tell
person who is or determine the nationality from the story. Code 1. Ugandan
people who are the ‘Ugandans and foreigners involved’ if the focus 2. Foreigner
focus of the story of the story includes both. Otherwise code ‘0’ if 3. Mixed (group of Ugandan and
it’s impossible to tell the nationality. foreign individuals)

18 Age of the person Enter the actual age if it’s mentioned in the story. 0. Cannot tell or not applicable
who is or people who Otherwise code ‘0’ if the age is not mentioned or
are the focus of the if the focus of the story is a group of people or
story individuals of presumably different ages.

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

19 Identity of the As applicable, state the name of the specific


institution that is or institution that is or institutions that are the
institutions that are focus of the story. For example: Uganda Revenue
the focus of the story Authority; telecom companies.

20 Function of the The reason why the institution or institutions


institution that is or identified in #19 is/are the focus of the story. For
institutions that are example: What is the Uganda Revenue Authority
the focus of the story doing or what is happening to the Uganda
Revenue Authority that makes it an institution
of interest in this story? What are the telecom
companies doing or what is happening to the
telecom companies that makes them institutions
of interest in this story?
21 Origin of the story In no more than 20 words, describe how the
story emerged. What was the trigger? Was it
original reporting, research, or investigation by
the journalist(s)? A research project or report?
A company, organisation, or government report
or document? A public or private event or
activity? A press conference or news release? A
spontaneous occurrence?
22 Context of the story A story can be approached either episodically 1. Episodic
or thematically. News presented episodically 2. Thematic
portrays events or cases as isolated, while news
presented thematically portrays issues and
events within their broader context. Examine the
story identified and determine which of the two
approaches best suits the context in which the
story is covered.
23 Tone of the story The tone is “negative” when the article in 1. Negative
with regard to the general is critical of or questions a particular 2. Positive
subject of coverage development or issue or the actors involved. The 3. Balanced
tone is “positive” when the article in general 4. Neutral
expresses promise about or celebrates a particular
development or issue or the actors involved. The
tone is “balanced” when the article has more
or else equal measures of negative and positive
tones. The tone is “neutral” when the article is
neither negative nor positive.

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

24 Priority source 1 These are the individuals to whom any 1. Most affected person; man
information and views in the article are directly or woman “on the street”;
25 Priority source 2 or indirectly attributed. Consider each person community member
who is interviewed or from whom information is 2. President
26 Priority source 3 sought and rank them according to the frequency 3. Vice President
27 Priority source 4 of appearance and the extent to which they are 4. Minister (including Cabinet
directly quoted. Priority source 1 is therefore the
Minister and Minister of State)
28 Priority source 5 source that either appears the most number of
times or has the most direct quotes used or both. 5. Central government civil servant
Examine the story identified and rank the sources (official of a central government
according to these criteria in descending order ministry, department or agency)
from 1 to 5 as applicable. Only up to five sources 6. Local government civil servant
are to be coded where a story has more than five. (official of LG department,
Each source is to be coded independently from agency or office)
item 24 to item 28. 7. Independent technical
expert (not a central or local
government official)
8. Politician (elected or non-elected
national or local politician who
does not hold a central or local
government position)
9. Member of Parliament
10. Businessman/woman (an
independent entrepreneur)
11. Company official or
representative
12. Local NGO official or
representative (includes
indigenous/foreign NGOs)
13. International organisation official
or representative (includes
regional and global institutions
e.g. EAC, IGAD, UN, World
Bank and diplomatic missions)
14. Religious leader or
representative
15. Cultural leader or representative
16. Community leader or
representative
17. Civil society actor
18. Independent commentator
(informed or holding a popular
opinion)
19. Military official, representative
or regular personnel
20. Police official, representative or
regular personnel
21. Prisons official, representative or
regular personnel
22. Security official, representative
or regular personnel
23. Other (specify)

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Annex 2: Summary list of case studies


REPORTING FORMAT STORIES ANALYSED
CONVENTIONAL LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Headline: Leaders urge donors to reconsider aid cuts
Author: Nelson Wesonga
Publication: Daily Monitor
Date: July 10, 2013
Page: 6
Word count: 253
Website link:
http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Regulator-on-the-spot-over-oil-data/-/688334/1958026/-
/10pnjxyz/-/index.html
PARLIAMENT
Headline: Government tables Bill to outlaw mini skirts
Author: Yasiin Mugerwa
Publication: Daily Monitor
Date: April 5, 2013
Page: X
Word count: 711
Internet link:
http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Government-tables-Bill-to-outlaw-
miniskirts/-/688334/1739768/-/p77d82/-/index.html
EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY
Headline: Regulator on the spot over oil data
Author: Isaac Imaka
Publication: Daily Monitor
Date: August 18, 2013
Page: 6
Word count: 396 words
Website link:
http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Regulator-on-the-spot-over-oil-data/-/688334/1958026/-
/10pnjxyz/-/index.html
INTERPRETIVE LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Headline: 5 years on, local service tax remains a pipe dream
Author: Edward Ssekika
Publication: The Observer
Date: March 31, 2013
Page: xx
Word count: 1,380
Internet link:
http://observer.ug/component/content/article?id=24513:5-years-on-local-service-tax-remains-
a-pipe-dream
PARLIAMENT
Headline: Divided Parliament - Museveni can remove Kadaga
Author: Peter Nyanzi
Publication: The Independent
Date: October 18, 2013
Page: 10
Word count: 2,339
Internet link:
http://www.independent.co.ug/cover-story/8341-divided-parliament-museveni-can-remove-kadaga
EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY
Headline: Oil compensation money splits families
Author: Francis Mugerwa
Publication: Daily Monitor
Date: July 15, 2013
Page: 11
Word count: 1,023
Website link:
http://www.monitor.co.ug/SpecialReports/Oil-compensation-money-splits-families/-/688342/1915056/-/
x5g8o8/-/index.html

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

INVESTIGATIVE LOCAL GOVERNMENT


Headline: Shs 2.3 billion swindled per month, investigators show
Author: Haggai Matsiko
Publication: The Independent
Date: July 18, 2014
Page: X
Word count: 2,002
Internet link:
http://www.independent.co.ug/cover-story/9159-shs-23-billion-swindled-per-month-investigators-show
PARLIAMENT
Headline: MPs spend Shs 30bn on trips
Author: Sulaiman Kakaire
Publication: The Observer
Date: October 25, 2013
Page: 1
Word count: 1,517
Website link:
http://observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=28211:mps-spend-shs-30bn-on-
trips&catid=78:topstories&Itemid=116
EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY
Headline: Uganda losing billions to mineral smuggling
Author: Francis Kagolo
Publication: New Vision
Date: January 25, 2014
Page: 6
Word count: 1,914
Website link:
http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/651794-uganda-losing-billions-to-mineral-smuggling.html

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Annex 3: Case study analysis criteria


CONVENTIONAL INTERPRETIVE INVESTIGATIVE
LOCAL GOVERNMENT The story: The story: The story:
• Reporting should highlight
local government affairs with • Provides breaking news § Expounds on an issue or event • Uncovers an issue, wrong-doing, or
significant impact on the or new information about in the news concerning the system of corruption in the extractives
governance of the community. Uganda’s extractive sector, extractive sector by giving sector that gravely affects the common
i.e. development and meaning to it – i.e. explains what or public good.
• Its central purpose is to inform exploitation of natural has happened or is happening
communities about topics or resources, including oil, gas and its significance to the • Bears evidence of resourcefulness and
issues that they value and that and mineral resources. audience and the community. courage in gathering information;
have an impact on their lives degree of difficulty or logistical
and livelihoods. • Covers the important facts of § Covers background and context challenges experienced.
the event or issue by asking well, explaining early on (i.e. • Bears evidence of good investigative
• It should provide a clear and answering the questions: by paragraph three or four) skills, sources and sourcing (use
understanding of events, issues Who? What? Where? When? the significance of what has of both multiple human and
and politics of importance to Why? How? happened, and why the audience documentary sources) – extent of
leadership of communities should care– insight, analysis and digging deeply into the issue or
outside the central government. • Provides new, accurate examination of the context of the subject.
information to readers, or event or issue.
• It focuses on the local angle and puts together previously • Produces new information or
perspective in covering issues. available information in § Looks at the bigger picture of the puts together previously available
a new way to reveal its extractives sector –from a local information in a new way to reveal
PARLIAMENT significance. (e.g. family, community, district, its significance, relevance and public
• Reporting should help develop sub-region), national, regional impact and/or benefit.
a unique understanding of • Adheres to news values of: and global perspective – and links
parliament, key players and the impact, timeliness, proximity, the story to events in the past and • Demonstrates journalist’s originality,
legislative process. conflict, relativity, novelty future. enterprise and proactiveness in
and, currency covering the issue (in subject selection
• Requires demonstration of
§ Explains the cause, impact, or problem identification); having
broad knowledge of local
• Simple for readers to or likely impact, of what has initiated coverage.
laws, good understanding of
understand and extract happened and connects the dots
parliamentary procedures and
practical information. between what has happened, • Shows the journalist’s objectivity,
oversight activity, and ability to
and its relevance to the target critical analysis, specificity,
explain them in news stories.
• Is accurate, fair and audience. accountability and presentation of
balanced, with evidence of facts about the subject or problem.
• Seeks to explain the work of
effort to present the factual § Bears evidence of the journalist’s
politicians and political parties
information and to assign enterprise and proactiveness • Demonstrates insight, analysis and
involved.
equal opportunity to all in covering the issue – having examination of the context of the story.
EXTRACTIVES positions. initiated coverage.
• Reporting should enhance • Demonstrates creativity of the work
understanding of Uganda’s • Journalist utilizes data § Includes use of data that are (ability to show new perspectives) and
extractive sector, i.e. effectively to tell the story; the relevant to the issue and audience its impact on the audience, community
development and exploitation data should be relevant to the to explain and maximise or nation.
of natural resources, including issue and audience. understanding of abstract or
oil, gas and mineral resources. complex facts. • Is accurate and comprehensive; re-
• Journalist demonstrates a porting rigour, depth and breadth of
high-quality writing style, § Demonstrates high-quality discussion and engagement.
language and storytelling writing and style and masterly of
technique. language in handling the subject. • Includes use of data that are relevant
to the issue and audience to maximise
§ Demonstrates reporting rigour, understanding of abstract or complex
depth and breadth of discussion facts.
and engagement.
• Demonstrates high-quality writing,
style, and mastery of language in
handling the subject, storytelling
technique, and skill in relating the
story.

• Has potential to promote


accountability in public policy and
decision-making in the sector.
DATA JOURNALISM • Visualisation is the dominant posture.
(cross-cutting) • Focus is on effectiveness of data to tell a story.
• Aims at “gathering, filtering and visualizing what is happening beyond what the eye can see” (Mirko Lorenz,
Deutsche Welle).
• Seeks to transform abstract/complex facts into information that everyone can understand and relate to.
• Dynamic presentation of data to users (readers and viewers)/design, functionality.
• Data should have relevance to the issue and audience/journalistic impact.

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Annex 4: Text of stories used as case studies


CONVENTIONAL REPORTING – EXTRACTIVES

Headline: Regulator on the spot over oil data

Author: Isaac Imaka (iimaka@ug.nationmedia.com)

Publication: Daily Monitor

Date: August 18, 2013

Website: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Regulator-on-the-spot-over-oil-data/-
/688334/1958026/-/10pnjxyz/-/index.html

The petroleum exploration department is on the spot over suspected delivery of faulty seismic data to
oil companies.

Although the oil sector regulator says they have not got official complaints from affected oil companies,
highly placed sources in CNOOC, a Chinese oil firm, say the company was given misleading data, a
thing that forced them to redo studies for its King Fisher Exploration Area.

Seismic data give details of the oil and gas potential of an area. It is the data which, when interpreted
by qualified geophysicists with the right technology, informs them whether an area has oil or not.

Although King fisher had been confirmed to have oil, sources in CNOOC say the data they were fed
on was misleading and did not match what they found on ground.

“We had no option but to redo the entire exercise before we could even start doing seismic for
appraisals,” the source said.

In an interview with this newspaper, Petroleum Exploration and Production Department’s head of
the regulatory unit Fred Kabanda said it would not be possible for the Entebbe-based petroleum
department to pass on faulty data because it does not carry out seismic studies.

He said it is not a policy of government to collect seismic data because the process is too expensive.

“In order to promote the country’s oil and gas potential, the department acquires preliminary data
through geological mapping, gravity and magnetic surveys and geochemistry,” Mr Kabanda said.

“This is the preliminary cheap data that government can afford to send a few people in
the field to come with data and then we package it for companies to come,” he added.
Seismic survey could cost between $4 million up to $20 million (about Shs10 billion to Shs50 billion)
depending on the coverage.

When contacted, CNOOC Uganda confirmed that the company is doing fresh seismic data but
remained silent on whether the fresh surveys were as a result of misleading ones.

“Operation on the King fisher field allows us to have a better understanding of the field. CNOOC
Uganda Limited is going to conduct a new programme to collect new seismic data for the field,” Mr
Dennis Namara, the CNOOC public relations supervisor, said in an email.

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

INTERPRETIVE REPORTING – EXTRACTIVES

Headline: Oil compensation money splits families

Author: Francis Mugerwa (fmugerwa@ug.nationmedia.com)

Publication: Daily Monitor

Date: July 15, 2013

Website: http://www.monitor.co.ug/SpecialReports/Oil-compensation-money-splits-
families/-/688342/1915056/-/x5g8o8/-/index.html

BULIISA - Compensations offered by oil companies to Buliisa District residents for property destroyed
during oil exploration operations have resulted into bitter misunderstandings in recipient families.

The district community development officer, Mr Godfrey Barugahara, says his office has mediated in
more than 20 cases of married couples disagreeing on how compensation money should be managed.

“We have registered cases where husbands confiscate the compensation money from their wives,
whose gardens were destroyed during seismic operations,”MrBarugahara says.

Some wives reportedly flee from their homes after receiving the money in fear of husbands confiscating
the compensation money.

The Buliisa Woman MP, Ms Beatrice Mpairwe, says her office has received similar complaints.

“Some husbands claim that their wives opt to divorce or separate after receiving compensation,” she
says, adding that her office is partnering with civil societies and religious leaders to resolve domestic
wrangles that have increased as a result of compensation funds.

Ms Margret Katusiime, 40, a resident of Kakindo Village in Buliisa town council, who received Shs520,
000 from Tullow Oil for her crops, which were destroyed during seismic operations, says: “When I
brought the money home, it is my husband who determined how the money would be spent.”

Whereas Ms Violet Kwesiga, 31, had hoped to determine how Shs1.6 million she received as
compensation for her cassava and maize garden, that did not happen.

She grudgingly accepted the decisions taken by her husband in regards to how the money should be
spent.

“My husband bought a goat, household items and used the money to enroll for university education,”
MsKwesiga says.

The Buliisa District Land Board Secretary, Mr Godfrey Businge, says traditionally, communities in
Buliisa give more powers to husbands, who are family heads, to dictate affairs in a home.

“It is unfortunate and unacceptable that communities do not allow married women to own property
in a home. This explains why compensation money is often confiscated from wives by their respective
husbands” MrBusinge says.

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

He adds: “Out of every 100 land applications received in this district, only two to three are filed by
women.”

Oil companies operating in the district compensate owners of property destroyed during oil operations
basing on the local government compensation rates. Compensation rates are proposed by the district
and approved by the chief government valuer depending on prevailing market rates.

However, some residents say the money they received as compensation for their damaged property
was too little while others complain about the reported delay in compensating them.

Others also say their names were omitted from the list of those expecting compensation.

The Executive Director of Global Rights Alert, an NGO building advocacy capacities of communities
adjacent to oil sites, Ms Winnie Ngabiirwe, says: “Families need to unite and work together to tap the
opportunities that have come with oil.”

Ms Ngabirwe’s organisation is currently offering skills and training to families and communal
associations in conflict resolution, financial literacy and managing income generating projects.

She says various studies in mineral-rich countries have revealed that oil revenues can accelerate
development and transform lives of the rural poor. MsNgabirwe, however, adds that there are a
number of risks associated with oil exploitation.

“In instances where benefits have been realised, gender bias has prevailed with risks such as
environmental and social harm falling heavily on women. These varying experiences of men and
women in the extractive industry have hence significantly impacted their abilities to participate in and
contribute to development,” MsNgabirwe says.

Tullow Oil, through collaboration with TRIAS, an NGO, has provided trainings to recipients of
compensations on how best to utilise the money obtained.

“The objective was to encourage them to invest wisely and have savings for the future,” the Tullow Oil
Communication Manager, Ms Cathy Adengo, says.

When asked to reveal the observations made by the company about the changes in communities due
to compensations received, Ms Adengo says Tullow Oil is undertaking social economic studies which
will enable the company to understand the current environment better.

The women in Buliisa want the government and oil companies to give the special consideration in
allocation of jobs, business contracts and training.

The Minister of State for Bunyoro Affairs, Mr Ernest Kiiza, says the government is committed to
address the concerns of the people in the region to enable them enjoy the full benefits that accrue from
oil exploitation.

He says his ministry will liaise with the chief government valuer to address the compensation needs
of the residents.

“However, they should also strategise and tap the benefits that have come with oil. The people should
educate their children to pursue sciences and other petroleum-related courses, improve on their
agricultural production to target supplying food and other agricultural products to oil workers,” he
said.

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Oil exploration in Uganda

Uganda discovered commercially viable oil deposits in the Albertine Graben in 2006 after years of
survey by Ugandan geologists. Since then oil exploration has been ongoing leading to the drilling of 89
wells, out of which 77 had oil deposits.

So far the total reserves that have been discovered are 3.5 billion barrels of oil, out of which 1.2 billion
barrels or 1.7 billion barrels can be recovered depending on what technology or methods of extraction
are used.

Statistics from the ministry of energy and mineral development indicated that the revenue that can be
reaped from the recoverable oil amounts to 150 billion US dollars.

Currently extended oil well testing is taking place to determine how the oil will be drilled out. Some oil
amounting to 36,000 barrels of crude oil has so far been got out of 16 wells during the testing.

There are three multinational oil companies operating in western Uganda and these include British oil
company Tullow, France’s Total and China’s CNOOC.

Buliisa District

Buliisa District, which was carved out of Masindi District in 2006, is within Exploration Area-2 where
Tullow oil, one of the firms exploring for oil is operating.

Oil exploration activities have been undertaken in gardens, communal settlements and grazing areas.
Several farms, grazing areas and property have been destroyed to create routes to the oil exploration
sites. Tullow oil provides compensation for destroyed property.

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING – EXTRACTIVES


Headline: Uganda losing billions to mineral smuggling

Author: Francis Kagolo (fkagolo@newvision.co.ug)

Publication: New Vision

Date: January 25, 2014

Website: http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/651794-uganda-losing-billions-to-mineral-
smuggling.html

Bottom of Form

KISORO – Undulating hills with sparse rainforests and streams give Kisoro a spectacular beauty seen
nowhere else in Uganda. But this beauty conceals a dark, thinly disguised secret, mineral smuggling
racket, which has kept the area impoverished and costs Uganda billions of shillings in revenue.

Kisoro is one of Uganda’s richest districts in mineral deposits like tin, gold and wolfram (tungsten).
However, while the smugglers are happy, district officials are cursing.

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“The district does not get any revenue from the minerals,” says Milton Bazanye, the district chairman.

“The energy ministry says Kisoro only has exploration licenses. But unknown to the officials in
the ministry, most of these so called explorers are mining and selling minerals without paying any
royalties.”

Illegal mining rampant

Bazanye singles out Kirwa, a prominent wolfram mine, which, according to officials at the mines
department in the energy ministry, was closed two years ago.

Despite the closure, mining goes on, but no revenue is remitted to the Government.

“One Saturday morning, down the Kirwa hills in Kabaya village, Nyarubuye sub-county, I found 16
young men scrounging in mounds of suspected wolfram deposits, as others crushed rocks in search of
the mineral,” said Bazanye.

Milton Nsanze, one of the artisanal miners in Kirwa, said a person can collect between 2kg and 4kg of
wolfram a day. Their manager, Gerald Ndagyize, said they are hired by G. Nzabonimpa of SEB and
Company Ltd., a Kisoro-based mining company.

Nzabonimpa buys the wolfram at sh10,000 per kilo. But Nsanze said sometimes they hide the wolfram
and sell it to another businessman at sh17,000 per kilo.

According to Nsanze, the businessman sells the wolfram to someone in Kigali at sh37,000 per kilo. But
Nzabonimpa’s son, Alex Nambajimana, who doubles as the company director, said they do not engage
in illicit dealings, even though their exploration license was still valid at the time the mine was closed.

Nationwide problem

Vincent Kato, the principal geologist in the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development, says
smuggling of minerals is not limited to Kisoro.

While on an operation last year, Kato and other officials from the energy ministry arrested a man trying
to smuggle 45kg of wolfram, worth over sh1.2m, from Nyamuriro in Isingiro district, into Tanzania. In
Muko sub-county, Kabale district, heaps of iron ore are sold by the roadside.

While Rwanda and Tanzania are the popular end points for mineral smugglers in the western region,
most minerals in Karamoja and eastern Uganda end up in Kenya.

Karamoja has more than 300 artisanal gold miners, each with a capacity to mine about 27 grams a day
(10kgs a year), according to Kato. There are more gold miners in Busia, Buhweju, Kigezi, Mubende,
Namayingo and Mubende. Despite having hundreds of small-scale miners, national gold production
(exports) has averaged 3kg per year for the last five years, according to records at the mines department.

Records show that no gold was produced in 2009, while in 2012, the department recorded 4.3kgs,
worth sh5m.

Last year, it was 3.9kgs, worth sh3.2m. Most likely, much of the gold mined is not reported to the mines
department as miners would rather smuggle it out of the country to avoid paying royalties. Besides
the artisanal/ the illegal miners, could it also be possible that licensed miners are evading paying
royalties?

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Unlike oil fields where the Government deploys geologists to monitor activities, it has no resident
officials in the mines. The Government has thus always depended on the mercy of the mining companies
to declare the quantities they have mined.

One is charged tax/royalties, depending on one’s declarations. A 2012 inspection report on limestone
mining in Hima by Edmond Ssekimwanyi, a senior statistician in the geology department, listed
difficulty in monitoring royalties paid for mined limestone as one of the key challenges.

In financial year 2010/2011, the Government recovered sh5.4b from Kasese Cobalt Company for
unpaid royalties between 2004 and 2009.

Investigations started when an employee informed the Police that they were underquoting invoices
for mineral exports, specifically cobalt metal, copper and nickel hydroxide, to pay lower royalties.

Kato has singled out the cement sector as worthy of further investigation. A source, who preferred
anonymity, added that more minerals are smuggled through the airport, under the guise of exploration
licenses.

More than three quarters of the licenses issued by the mines department each year are for exploration.

For instance, of the 839 licenses that were valid by June last year, about 500 were exploration licenses,
according to the energy and mineral annual sector performance report for 2012/2013. The three-year
exploration licenses, which are renewable twice, allow holders to pick potential mineral samples from
to test their commercial viability.

The exploration samples are tax-free. But it has emerged that a number of players are hiding under
exploration licenses to smuggle minerals out of Uganda.

“Most of the exploration companies are not doing exploration, but speculation. Several have failed to
comply with the conditions of the exploration license,” reads a 2012 report on appraisal of exploration
and mining licenses.

The report was compiled by a four-man committee, set up by the energy ministry permanent secretary,
Kabagambe Kaliisa, to investigate challenges in the mineral sector. The committee disclosed that most
holders of exploration licenses are engaged in mining instead.

According to a source in the ministry, the problem is exacerbated by the lack of a mineral testing
laboratory, which means samples have to be taken abroad for testing.

“In the process, the so-called mineral explorers smuggle out large quantities of minerals disguised as
samples, without paying royalties,” the source explained.

For instance, while the ministry recorded only 3.9kg of gold worth sh3.2m produced last year, the
source revealed a mineral explorer who made off with 500kg of gold, worth sh419.2m, disguised as
samples, through Entebbe Airport in June last year.

Kato confirmed the incident and called for cooperation from the airport staff in fighting mineral smuggling.

“The airport staff should first crosscheck with us to confirm whether the quantities of mineral samples
being taken out are the ones we permitted,” Kato explained.

“But concerning this particular incident, they called me when the person had already flown out.”

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The law

According to the Penal Code;

1. Any person who takes, conceals or otherwise disposes of any ore or any metal or mineral in or
about a mine, with intent to defraud any person, commits a felony and is liable to imprisonment
for five years.

2. Any person who exports or imports any goods from or into Uganda, packed in any package,
whether or not with other goods, in a manner calculated to deceive any authorised officer, commits
the offence of smuggling. On conviction, that person is liable to imprisonment for not less than
three years and not more than 14 years; and shall in addition pay a fine of not more than sh5m.
Should the offender default, he/she shall be sentenced to a further term of imprisonment of not
more than two years.

3. Where in the course of smuggling, an offender is armed, uses or threatens to use a deadly weapon,
the offender shall, on conviction, be sentenced to death.

How minerals are smuggled across Kisoro border

Time check is 7:20am on a windy Sunday. I set out to verify allegations that minerals are smuggled
through the Cyanika border in Kisoro. Boda boda riders at the border lead me to Emma, who refers to
himself as the ‘chief smuggler’.

According to Emma, if one wants to smuggle, they have to hide the minerals in his makeshift office
during the day for easy departure to Rwanda at night.

“Most times, we use boda boda on the paths in the forest (near the border post),” he said.

“We have Indian buyers from Kigali whom we meet in Rwanda, not far from the border.”

Emma says they sometimes smuggle more than 100kg of minerals, mainly wolfram, in one day, selling
it at sh25,000 per kilogramme.

Although most smugglers use hidden paths, a policeman on duty that Sunday, whom I tricked into
believing that I wanted to join the illicit trade, said it was possible to use the official border post.

“You place the wolfram in a box of mineral water or milk. Give the box to the boys who sell snacks at
the border. They will go through,” the policeman said.

Ironically, the police are aware of the crime.

The Kisoro LC5 chairman, Milton Bazanye, says when the district complained about illegal mining
last year, the Police set up a post at Nuyu, about 70 metres from Kirwa mine. But its presence has not
stopped the illicit business.

District Police Commander Bosco Otim refused to comment on the illicit trade.

Officers at Cyanika border, one of the most notorious mineral smuggling routes, as well as Uganda
Revenue Authority’s western region spokesperson, Charles Lumanyika, also declined to comment.

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Quick money woos students

Mineral smuggling in Kisoro is so widespread and lucrative that students have been compelled to join
the bandwagon.

“During my S4 vacation in 2012, I used to smuggle minerals from Kirwa to Rwanda, through
Cyanika border. I would earn about sh500,000 a week,” said a teenager in Nuyu trading centre.
“I made a lot of money and decided that after S6, I would go straight into the business.”

Where is the problem?

There are only three field inspectors of mines, stationed in Kabale, Mbarara and Tororo regional offices.
Each inspector has more than five districts to monitor on a fuel budget of sh300,000 for every three
months.

He is also given sh150,000 every three months to run the office. The entire department, which generates
over sh4b revenue a year, works on a sh250m annual budget.

“This money cannot do much in monitoring mines. It is frustrating,” a mines inspector said on condition
of anonymity.

No wonder, Milton Bazanye, the district chairman for Kisoro, said they did not see any mines inspector
in their area last year. The geological survey and mines department estimates that the Government
loses over sh4b to mineral smuggling every year.

Officials expect to recover this if the department’s budget is increased to at least sh1b, to intensify
inspection.

“We are losing a lot of revenue through smuggling. If we reduce smuggling, the revenue from mineral
royalties will shoot up to more than sh8b,” Kato said.

Mineral smuggling has been reported across Africa, although it is more widespread in the great lakes
region. International agencies have attributed the endless conflicts in the region to proceeds from
illegal mining and smuggling, especially in the DR Congo.

After its inception in 2012, the Tanzania Minerals Audit Agency made 37 arrests of mineral smugglers
involving $10.3m (about sh26b) within two years, according to a report released this month.

Tanzania wants the East African Community to harmonise mining policies and legal framework to
curb mineral smuggling in the region.

Way forward

Kato says there is a plan to restructure the ministry and divide the current geological survey and mines
department into three semi-independent departments, with separate commissioners.

The proposed departments include mines, geothermal resources and geological survey. The plan,
which was passed by the Cabinet last year, is waiting for the Ministry of Finance to study the financial
implications before implementation. Kato expects the move to increase the number of staff to monitor
mines.

To strengthen the sector, the Government ought to implement the certification of minerals, to indicate
their origin and formalize artisanal mining, as required by the 2010 guidelines set by the International
Conference on the Great Lakes Region.

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CONVENTIONAL REPORTING – LOCAL GOVERNMENT


Headline: Leaders urge donors to reconsider aid cuts

Author: Nelson Wesonga (nwesonga@ug.nationmedia.com)

Publication: Daily Monitor

Date: July 10, 2013

Website: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Regulator-on-the-spot-over-oil-data/-
/688334/1958026/-/10pnjxyz/-/index.html

KAMPALA - Local government leaders from the north and the northeast want Uganda’s development
partners to unlock the financial assistance that they withheld due to corruption in the Office of the
Prime Minister (OPM).

They said the freezing of US$372 million (Shs967 billion) in financial assistance to Uganda has
compromised the local governments’ ability to complete infrastructural projects.

However, the partners should channel the funds directly to the intended beneficiaries, the leaders said
during a public dialogue yesterday in Kampala.

“Should the donors resume the funding, they should send the funds directly to the district local
governments,” said Mr John Lorot, the regional chairperson of the Uganda Local Governments
Association.

He said they have lost faith in the OPM since it has mismanaged the $600 million (Shs1.5 trillion) purse
Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) meant to restore infrastructure in 55 districts that were
affected by the 20-year Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency.

Mr Basil Cox Abaa Ezamah, the programme officer for Community Action for Rural Development
Strategy in Arua District, blamed the development partners for misdirecting the financial assistance.

“If the donors say they are not giving the money, it is fine,” said MrEzamah. “The donors are the
problem; when it is time for planning, they look at civil society as an enemy. But when it comes to
embezzlement, they ask civil society to help.”

But Mr Patrick Okello Oryema, the Nwoya District chairperson, said districts under the PRDP are now
having problems completing some infrastructural projects because of a shortage of funds.

INTERPRETIVE REPORTING – LOCAL GOVERNMENT


Headline: 5 years on, Local Service tax remains a pipe dream

Author: Edward Ssekika (ssekika@observer.ug)


Publication: The Observer

Date: March 31, 2013

Website: http://observer.ug/component/content/article?id=24513:5-years-on-local-service-
tax-remains-a-pipe-dream

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Many local governments have tried, and miserably failed, to raise any meaningful revenue from the Local Service
tax (LST). So, does the tax serve any meaningful purpose five years after it was introduced? EdwardSsekika
has been talking to several leaders and finds that this question draws a variety of passionate responses from local
government authorities.

In July 2008, Parliament introduced the local service tax to replace the abolished graduated tax. Many
local governments applauded the initiative. Martin Mapenduzi Ojara, the Gulu district chairman, who
was a district councilor then, was one of the optimists. Ojara hoped the new tax would plug the revenue
hole in local governments and enable them [local governments] finance their mandated operations.

The abolition of graduated tax in FY 2005/2006 heavily hurt revenue collection in local governments,
since the taxed used to contribute 80% of all district revenues.

“We welcomed the tax with a lot of expectations. I hoped it would end the local government’s financial
stress,” Ojara said in an interview, stressing that he hoped the tax would greatly enhance local revenue
generation in the district.

Local service tax and hotel taxes were introduced by the Local Governments (Amendment) Act 2008
and were meant to plug the financial gap created by the graduated tax abolition. The taxes that became
operational on July 1, 2008 were meant to enhance local governments’ capacity to generate local
revenues to be able to offer services to the people.

The Local Government (Amendment) Act 2008, provides that local service tax is levied on salaries of
employees after deducting Pay As You Earn (PAYE).

According to the Act, those eligible to pay the tax include; persons in gainful employment (civil servants
and those employed in the private sector), self-employed, practising professionals, self-employed
artisans, businesspeople and commercial farmers, among others.

However, after five years, Ojara’s expectations are fading. “I think local service tax has failed to serve
the purpose for which it was introduced,” he says. Ojara says very little revenue can be raised from
the tax.

Abdulla Kiganda, the Gulu district Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), notes that in fact, in many
rural areas local revenue from local service tax is even negligible. Kiganda concurs with Ojara on the
effectiveness of the tax.

“I don’t think it has taken off,” Kiganda notes. He says weak implementation procedures, too many
exemptions and weak enforcement mechanisms are to blame for the lack of effectiveness.

The amount of tax paid by a taxpayer depends on one’s level of income. For instance, tax collection
guidelines issued by the Local Government Financial Commission in 2008 indicate that a person
earning between Shs 100,000 and Shs 200,000 per month is supposed to pay Shs 5,000 as local service
tax annually, while one who earns between Shs 200,000 and Shs 300, 000 pays Shs 10,000.

However, persons earning a monthly salary of less than Shs 100,000 are exempt from paying the tax
together with members of the UPDF, police, prisons, unemployed persons, petty traders and peasants.
The tax is deducted directly from income just like PAYE and NSSF deductions. Kiganda says although
the act provided for a wide tax base, including taxing farmers, traders, self-employed people and
artisans, among others, these categories were later exempted from paying the tax.

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The act had stipulated that business persons with a turnover of over Shs 500,000 monthly would also
be eligible to pay Shs 5,000 in LST while those with a turnover of over Shs 10m would pay Shs 100,000
annually.

Commercial farmers, who own more than five acres under crop, or own 20 exotic cows or 50 local
cows, were initially eligible to pay the LST. Self-employed artisans were to pay between Shs 10,000
and Shs 20,000.

“We received a circular that exempted commercial farmers and others from paying the tax,” Kiganda
says. The bulk of the country’s workforce is found in agriculture or in small and informal enterprises
which are difficult to tax. The rest, owners of shops, restaurants, bars, furniture workshops, food
vendors and garages are now exempted from the tax, narrowing the revenue base.

This places primary school teachers and other persons who earn less than Shs 300,000 monthly as the
bulk of taxpayers in rural areas at Shs 10,000 in LST tax annually.

“Currently, LST is paid mainly by teachers and other civil servants,” Kiganda says.

Meager collections

Kiganda explains that all salaried people, even those employed in the private sector are supposed to
pay the tax, but compliance is low. He says it is mainly municipalities that have many salaried people
which are benefiting from LST. “Look at a rural sub county, how many salaried people are there It is
mainly primary school teachers. The money collected is too little,” he said.

“This money can’t even help us to fund council sittings and meet our co-funding obligations,” he
stressed. For instance, Kiganda says revenues from the local service tax can’t even fund 1% of the
district budget.

At its inception, local service tax was expected to generate between Shs 67bn and Shs 80bn annually
from across the country, compared to the Shs 70bn generated from graduated tax. However, not even
a quarter of the projected revenue has been realized. The Local Government Finance Commission 2011
annual report released in February 2012, noted that the performance of LST continues to be poor with
little revenue realized.

For instance, according to the report, in the 2008/2009 fiscal year, out of the projected Shs 80bn, local
goverments were only able to collect Shs 3.8bn, while Shs 9bn was collected in 2009/2010 fiscal year.

“The introduction of the Local Service Tax and Local Government Hotel Tax, has not yet made any
recognizable impact,” the report notes. “We are facing a big problem, local governments are not able
to perform,” Kiganda said.

Though the Act makes it an offence for any person without lawful excuse, to neglect or fail to pay the
tax, Kiganda says there is a high level of non-compliance which is one of the biggest hurdles affecting
the efficacy of the tax.

Challenging tax

Betty Nambooze Bakireke, the shadow local government minister, notes that too many exemptions
have made LST a ‘joke’. “It is confusing; almost everyone is exempted from this tax. Apart from
teachers and civil servants, I don’t think there are people paying this tax,” Nambooze said. The MP
says she wants to do something about it.

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“I’m going to move a motion in parliament either to have the local service tax abolished completely
because it has no impact or to put in place measures to improve it,” Nambooze stressed.

Nambooze says that in justifying the abolition of graduated tax, government campaigned against
all direct taxes as ‘unjust and outdated’; so, imposing another direct tax is difficult. “That is why
government had to exempt many people because it would look like graduated tax but in a different
name,” Namboze said.

The Local Government Finance Commission report 2011 also notes that the threshold (Shs 100,000) is
still high, exempting a good number of prospective taxpayers from LST. Kiganda also notes that the
shortage of data on private sector employees makes assessment very difficult.

Nambooze believes the LST is failing because it was born on a false foundation. “How can you tell
how much a self-employed person earns? That [is] why they later had to exempt many would-be
taxpayers,” she says, adding that some districts can’t collect Shs 3m in LST.

Reforms

Ojara explains that abolishing graduated tax was cheap politics and a bad financial judgment and,
therefore, wants it re-introduced.

“We have already made a proposal to the central government through Uganda Local Government
Association to institute a viable tax where local governments can raise enough revenue to extend
services to the people,” Ojara stressed.

According to Ojara, government should reintroduce graduated tax and come up with creative and
humane collection mechanisms. “The best thing to do is not to hide in shortcuts but reintroduce
graduated tax,” he said.

Kiganda wants the act that introduced the tax amended to provide for an elaborate mechanism of
people employed in the private sector to pay the tax and also provide for penalties for non-compliance.
Nambooze notes that local governments play a fundamental role in the implementation of national
growth and poverty reduction strategies and, therefore, needs sound financing.

This Observer feature is published in partnership with Panos Eastern Africa, with funding from the European
Union’s Media for Democratic Governance and Accountability project.

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING – LOCAL GOVERNMENT


Headline: Shs 2.3 billion swindled per month, investigators show

Author: Haggai Matsiko (hmatsiko@independent.co.ug)

Publication: The Independent

Date: July 18, 2014

Website: http://www.independent.co.ug/cover-story/9159-shs-23-billion-swindled-per-
month-investigators-show

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Can the ministry of Finance stop the thieves?

Butaleja district in eastern Uganda always has some of the worst performing schools in national
primary and secondary level exams. In a recent report, the Butaleja District Education Officer, Philips
Kalyebi, blamed the poor results on the pupils. He said more than 40% of school-going age children
miss school and go into rice farming, which is the district’s craze. New information, however, suggests
that Kalyebi might have to find another explanation.

An investigation by the ministry of Finance has found that, in fact, most schools in Butaleja are non-
existent. They are what are commonly called “ghost” schools.

These are fake schools; with fake pupils and teachers, that are deliberately created by a racket of
officials to swindle the government.

In the preliminary findings of the ministry of Finance Investigation, it was discovered that about Shs30
billion is swindled each year.

Officials from the ministry of Education, Public Service, and local government are possibly the main
architects in a scam in which about Shs2.3 billion is stolen every month.

On average, a Primary school teacher earns Shs320, 000 a month, and a Secondary School teacher,
Shs500, 000. The money being stolen each month is enough to pay 5000 secondary school teachers and
8000 in primary.

In all, the investigation has unearthed 221 ghost schools with registered pupils paid for by the
government, teachers earning salaries.

Butaleja district, with 78, has the highest number of ghost schools. It is closely followed by Kayunga
with 73 and Mubende with 37 among others. That is why the Butaleja DEO needs to find another
explanation for the district’s poor performance – together with the Minister of Education, Jessica Alupo.

By the time of going into print, The Independent had failed to contact the DEO, Philips Kalyebi.
However, we succeeded in reaching the minister.

But Alupo declined to comment on the investigation findings and instead referred us to the Permanent
Secretary, whose known telephone numbers were not on.

When The Independent told Emmanuel Dombo, the MP for Bunyole County East in Butaleja that his
district had 78 ghost schools, he sounded shocked.

“78 ghost schools, is that possible?” Dombo said, “I would like to first be sure of the figures but if that
is the case, it should be easy to trace and punish the culprits.”

He is right.

Museveni warns

Ghosts have for long hogged into and crippled Uganda’s budget.

On June 13 President YoweriMuseveni had a terse message for government officials: “I will not tolerate
any further financial waste and the issue of ghosts must stop immediately”.

Even before Museveni’s public warning, ministry of Finance officials had already started scouring the
payrolls for ghosts.

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With his bosses breathing down his neck, the Permanent Secretary/Secretary to the Treasury, Keith
Muhakanizi appears to have increased his pace.

Since the ministry of Education also carries out school, pupils and teachers census, officials at the
ministry of finance decided to compare the lists from the accounting officers and those from the
ministry of Education.

In most of the cases, the ministry of Education had more schools, pupils and teachers than those
submitted by the local governments, the findings show.

For instance, while the local governments submitted 10,037 schools, the ministry of Education’s school
list exceeded this by 221 schools.

The findings also reveal a big variance between the number of pupils and students that enrolled for
Primary One and Senior One and those that sat Primary Seven and Senior Six.

In another case, the Accounting Officers submitted 5,442,547 as the number of enrolled pupils, but the
number of the ministry of Education is bigger than this by 402,957 pupils.

John Muwanga, the Auditor General after a review of UPE in 2013 indicated that the government was
losing billions of shillings to ghost pupils and teachers.

Poor districts like Butaleja have also been budgeting massively for the education sector. According
to Dombo, Shs8.4 billion of the Shs17 billion of 2013/2014 Butaleja district budget was hogged by
education.

Particularly, the Auditor General discovered, several registered pupils were missing examinations yet
government paid for their registration (PLE fees).

The findings by Finance reveal similar concerns.

For instance, while a total of 1,181,938 enrolled for Primary One, only 395,818 sat Primary Leaving
Examinations (PLE). This means that 66.5% of the students that enrolled for P.1 never made it to P.7
or that of every 100 students that enrolled for P.1, 67 never made it to P.7. Where did they disappear?

While a case can be made for high school dropout rates in Uganda, officials say that this discrepancy
is best explained by ghosts.

Fake pupils

The officials say that while the racketeers could manage to create as many ghosts between P.1 and P.6,
they invariably had to drop them in P.7 because of the national exam; the Primary Leaving Exam.

It is argued that while fake pupils could be created in distant districts like Butaleja between P.1 and P.6,
the documentation required for PLE candidates was too elaborate to be forged.

The impact of the ghosts, officials say, is that government’s meagre resources have for several years
been splashed on the ghosts instead of real students, schools and teachers.

Last year, Ministry of Education bosses complained that while enrolment to primary increased from
8,337,069 in 2012 to 8,390,674 in 2013 and that of the secondary, from 1,251,507 in 2012 to 1,257,378 in
2013, their budget had not changed much. They wanted more money.

Instead, the Minister of Finance, Maria Kiwanuka, in the 2014/15 budget slashed the Education
ministry budget to Shs1.7 trillion from last year’s Shs1.8 trillion.

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There has also been restlessness in the Education ministry with endless strikes by teachers over pay
and a host of other issues.

James Tweheyo, the General Secretary, Uganda National Teachers Union (UNATU), told The
Independent that it is clear now instead of allocating teachers to schools and paying them; officials in
the racket would create pseudo names, and pay them.

“This would give an impression that the schools sealing for the teachers was full when in actual sense,
the teachers were non-existent,” he says.

Tweheyo, a former Head Teacher of Nyakayojo Secondary School located in Mbarara, western Uganda,
says that the biggest problem was at the district level.

“Personnel at the district level would hide the details such that the headmasters and teachers would
not see them and even the CAO (chief accounting officer of the district) would not see them,” he says.

“These officials had become small gods, they would delete and reinstate. In some cases, those who
were very corrupt would demand a chunk of the arrears, if they were to reinstate a teacher on the
payroll.”

In Kalangala district, for instance, the UNATU secretary general, Tweheyo says that while 1825 were
on payroll as staff, after verification, it was discovered that Kalangala had less than 600 workers. The
same verification showed that story was the same as in Luuka and Manafwa districts.

Some teachers also noted that politicians were conniving with the office of the DEO and CAO to carry
out incessant transfers. Transfers, UNATU’s Tweheyo says, is one of the ways through which officials
create ghost teachers.

“It is because of situations like these that you have some teachers spending years and years without
ever being part of the payroll,” Tweheyo said.

As for ghost schools, Tweheyo believes that there is a possibility that the ministry of education may
have been spending this money on private schools.

“Of course, this means that influential people able to finance their schools have using money that
should have been allocated to public schools,” Tweheyo says, “These issues are at the heart of the poor
performance and poor quality of public schools.”

Muhakanizi’s reforms

The findings are part of a process of reforms that Keith Muhakanizi, the Treasury Secretary and his
army of technocrats at the ministry of Finance embarked on last year to clean the government payroll.

Maria Kiwanuka had told parliament in 2013 that the clean-up could save government up to Shs70
billion that is lost in the irregularities on the payroll especially, the proliferation of ghosts.

To reform the payroll, Muhakanizi and his technocrats chose to decentralise it and create a new system
all together called the Integrated Personnel Payroll System (IPPS).

The system was only rolled out this year. The switch from the old and flawed system to the new one
partly explains why thousands of civil servants have spent several months without pay, the officials
say.

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Recently, Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga ordered a select committee of MPs to investigate
claims that an estimated 9,000 public sector employees had gone for months without pay.

A 2012 special audit by the Auditor General on government’s salaries and wages showed that
government had lost Shs34 billion due to irregularities in the payroll.

Another 2013 partial report by the Auditor General on the government payroll found and recommended
that over 8,000 ghost names be deleted from the government payroll. The report was as a result of
validation of only 34% of the payroll.

An August 2012 Commission of Inquiry Report into the mismanagement of funds under UPE and USE
report noted that ghost teachers and pupils were amongst the education sector.

The commission found that some districts were deducting, inflating and sometimes mismanaging
money disbursed by the government and recommended that government considers releasing UPE
funds directly from Finance to the respective schools.

“The failure to carry out regular inspection of all schools and compile quarterly reports hampered
ability to assess the compliance of schools with expenditure and other UPE guidelines and financial
accountability,” a report by the Auditor General reported.

It is these findings that Treasury Secretary Keith Muhakanizi to attempt to clean up the payroll by
ensuring that responsibility for management and approval of the final payroll and salary payments
moves from the ministry of Public Service to accounting officers.

In his new reforms, Muhakanizi has also asked school head-teachers to file quarterly reports.

Under the new system, the ministry of Public Service will still be responsible for verification and
generation of the preliminary payroll on the basis of pay change reports submitted by local governments,
Muhakanizi says.

But it is the accounting officers that will have the final authority to verify and effect payment to
individual bank accounts of the public servants.

In all this, the ministry of finance will only ensure adequate budgeting and issue payment based on
invoices generated and approved by accounting officers through the Integrated Financial Management
System (IFMS).

CAO on the spot

Apart from the new system, the ministry of finance has directed accounting officers to print and display
monthly payrolls on public notice boards for scrutiny. This is one of the demands that teachers raised
with governments.

In the new system, Muhakanizi ordered that each local government’s accounting officer compiles lists
of pupils, teachers and schools in their area, and sends it to the ministry of Public Service. The ministry
of Public Service then forwards it back to the local government accounting officers and the ministry of
Finance at the same time.

Then the CAO also forwards them after verification to the ministry of Finance, which pay through the
Central Bank. Before money is wired to personal accounts, the accounting officer must first certify and
approve. In case of ghosts, they will be liable.

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What the new system does in brief is that “it rests final responsibility with the accounting officers,
which wasn’t the case in the old system,” an official at the ministry of finance said.

Apart from the new payroll system, teachers will also be receiving their pay slips and the names of the
workers will be published on the noticeboards of local governments.

However, even with this new system challenges remain. A June report by the Select committee on
Salary Anomalies in the Uganda Public Service found that the migration of employee data on to the
IPPS resulted into massive errors.

These errors, apart from explaining delayed payment, over and under payment of salaries also led to
the existence of ghosts on the payroll.

CONVENTIONAL REPORTING – PARLIAMENT


Headline: Government tables Bill to outlaw miniskirts

Author: Yasiin Mugerwa (ymugerwa@ug.nationmedia.com)

Publication: Daily Monitor

Date: April 5, 2013

Website: http://www.monitor.co.ug/News/National/Government-tables-Bill-to-outlaw-
miniskirts/-/688334/1739768/-/p77d82/-/index.html

The Bill defines pornography as any cultural practice, form of behaviour or form of communication or speech or
information or literature or publication in whole or publication in part or news story.

Wearing of miniskirts could soon land one in jail or attract heavy fines if Parliament approves a new
piece of legislation that seeks to further clarify the offence of pornography in Uganda’s laws.

The government is riding on its view that pornography has become such an “insidious social problem”
to get the Bill through Parliament.

It also argues that because there has been an “increase in pornographic materials in the Ugandan mass
media and nude dancing in the entertainment world”, there is need to establish a legal framework to
regulate such vices.”

In its current form, it is proposed that those found guilty of abetting pornography face a fine of Shs10
million under the draft law titled: The Anti-Pornography Bill, 2011 or a jail stint not exceeding 10 years,
or both.

But the draft law ran into early turbulence in the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee
yesterday after some members expressed concerns about its implications for freedoms guaranteed in
the Constitution.

MPs in the committee also criticised the government’s attempts to legislate for sex, a course of action
which could see it labelling some age-old cultural practices as pornographic.

The Bill defines pornography as any cultural practice, form of behaviour or form of communication
or speech or information or literature or publication in whole or publication in part or news story or

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entertainment or stage play or broadcast or music or dance or art or graphic or picture or photography
or video recording or leisure activity or show or exhibition.

It also prohibits any combination of the preceding that depicts unclothed or under clothed parts of
the human body such as breasts, thighs, buttocks and genitalia, a person engaged in explicit sexual
activities or conduct; erotic behaviour intended to cause sexual excitement and any indecent act or
behaviour tending to corrupt morals.

Lawmakers said the Bill’s definition of pornography was too broad and that it went against Uganda’s
tradition of being tolerant of cultural diversity.

Ethics Minister Simon Lokodo, who presented the proposed law backed by Deputy Attorney General
Fred Ruhindi, said the Bill was needed to protect women and children against exploitation and curb
the increasing immorality.

“The need to put in place a law that prohibits pornography is necessitated by the dangers it poses to
moral fabric of the society,” Rev Lokodo said, adding that the right to entertainment and the right to
broadcast or publish any material does not include the right to engage in pornographic matters or
obscene publication as they tend to corrupt public morals.

The minister speaks about “serious defects” in existing laws which make it imperative for new laws to
stamp out pornography.

“The right to entertainment and the right to broadcast or publish any material does not include the
right to engage or broadcast pornographic matters or obscene publication in so far as they tend to
offend or corrupt public morals,” he states in the Bill.

The minister said one of the dangers of pornography is that it fuels sexual crimes against women and
children, including rape and child molestation.

While the Bill seeks to outlaw indecent dressing among other social behaviours deemed pornographic
under the legal parameters of the Bill, the lawmakers said the lack of definition for what constitutes
“decent dressing” makes the Bill awkward and asked the government to stop curtailing freedoms in
the country which could scare away tourists.

Responding to the members who expressed fears that the Bill might inhibit the sexual behaviours
of romantic spouses or couples, the minister said if the Bill is passed into law, pornography will not
include “any act or behaviour between spouses or couples performed in fulfillment of their conjugal
rights and responsibilities, where such matters are strictly private”.

Also pardoned in the Bill are the teaching aides and other medical or scientific apparatus approved
by the minister responsible for education or health, for appropriate educational purposes in schools,
institutions, health centres or the public.

While some committee members urged that Section 166 of the Penal Code Act, Cap.120 already outlaws
pornography, the minister said the Penal Code only caters for trafficking in obscene publication yet the
issue of pornography transcends publication.

Members, however, flatly rejected the minister’s proposal to establish an Anti-Pornography Committee,
observing that the police would enforce the law.

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INTERPRETIVE REPORTING – PARLIAMENT


Headline: Divided Parliament - Museveni can remove Kadaga

Author: Peter Nyanzi (pnyanzi@independent.co.ug)

Publication: The Independent

Date: October 18, 2013

Website: http://www.independent.co.ug/cover-story/8341-divided-parliament-museveni-
can-remove-kadaga

Since his election to the lofty position of Deputy Speaker of Parliament on May 19, 2011, Jacob Oulanyah
has rarely appeared on radio or TV talk shows. He has turned down almost all invitations. But on
Saturday Oct. 05, he made an unprecedented appearance on the no holds-barred KFM radio talk show,
Hard Talk. The following day, he was a panelist on the late night show, Fourth Estate, on NTV.

As he answered some really hard questions on both shows, Oulanyah’s presentation may have given
Ugandans their real first hand picture of the man, his office and indeed a Parliament that has been
under the spotlight.

Negative perception of Oulanyah’s handling of parliamentary business has been growing and appeared
to have hit the ceiling when Opposition MP Ssemuju Nganda was on Oct.02 violently evicted from the
House on his orders.

Oulanyah, while on the KFM radio, suggested that there could be foul play from Kadaga in his being
set up to appear as if he is the one being used to put Parliament under the President Yoweri Museveni’s
armpits.

“It is beginning to look like that and it is very unfortunate because for example among the things that
are cited is that I have mishandled the Mace,” he said.

Oulanyah said claims that he is being used by Museveni are an “insult”.

“To be used shows you don’t have a brain of your own, you don’t think, you are just a machine that
is programmed. I have a brain that works and works fairly well,” he said. “There is no instance where
anybody has ever called me that ‘Oulanyah do this’ but that is the perception everywhere.”

Asked about his relationship with Kadaga, Oulanyah said he treats her like his “mom.”

But he insisted that Kadaga is not his supervisor, because the two offices are constitutional.

The Speaker apparently has no power to direct the decisions and actions of the Deputy Speaker because,
unlike a vice president, the office is constitutional and both have the same job description.

Helen Kaweesa, the public relations director at Parliament, admitted there was ‘a gap’.

The Constitution and the Parliamentary Rules of Procedure, it appears, did not envisage a sour working
relationship between the Speaker and the Deputy.

Even the Parliamentary Commission; among whose functions is to exercise disciplinary control over
persons holding public office in Parliament, cannot be helpful as an arbiter because it is chaired by the
Speaker and deputised by the Deputy Speaker.

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If the Deputy Speaker is not happy with his/her boss, he/she has no office to appeal to.

Asked about why he appears to handle the most controversial Bills, Oulanyah said Kadaga always
assigns him because he “can handle”.

“It is a show of confidence in me,” he said.

Since his public relations efforts on radio, TV, and the press, pundits say Oulanyah has re-emerged
more or less unscathed and evidently more energised.

Kadaga might have thought that Oulanyah would be disadvantaged by presiding over controversial
Bills but her habit of pushing the ‘harder’ stuff into her Deputy’s in-tray appears to be playing in his
favour.

If the events of recent months are anything to go by, Oulanyah has emerged as a ‘stronger’ Speaker
than Kadaga not necessarily in the eyes of the public but as far as the NRM is concerned.

Added to his recent unprecedented decision to apologise on the floor of Parliament over the Ssemuju
incident, his maneuvers appear to have scored him more positive reviews.

Unfortunately, his improving image could complicate matters for Kadaga whose job, observers say;
Oulanyah is setting his eyes on.

By almost all accounts, the relationship between Kadaga and Oulanyah is less than collegial and has
been blamed for an alleged weakening of the institution they lead.

Bob Kasango, a top city lawyer and a director at The Independent Publications Ltd, told The Independent
that what is happening - especially the apparent NRM’s preference for Oulanyah - is bad for Parliament
and the country.

He said the quality of legislation produced under Oulanyah would suffer and the public would
continue to lose confidence in the institution. He said already, Opposition and some Independent MPs
switch into “offensive mode” once they know that Oulanyah would be chairing.

Oulanyah also switches into ‘defensive mode’, Kasango says. He said there is a danger that the quality
of debate would be compromised because moderate and reasonable voices would either go silent or
keep away from the House all together. “That would be bad for the country because laws passed in
that form would not be easily enforceable,” he says.

Museveni’s choice

What is clear is that the gap between Kadaga and Oulanyah appears to symbolise the struggle of
Parliament for independence from Museveni.

Some observers have told The Independent that the apparent rift between Kadaga and Oulanyah
should be blamed on President YoweriMuseveni’s desire to totally control Parliament. It is all part of
his penchant for control, which Kadaga resents, and Oulanyah appears ready to embrace.

Kadaga did not answer when The Independent sought her views about her style and relationship with
Oulanyah.

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But those who have worked closely with Museveni say he detests what he calls “paralysis” and more
so when he cannot have his way, and saying ‘no’ to him often invites reprisals.

Meanwhile, Ssemuju says Oulanyah’s behavior can be explained by his desire to show gratitude to
Museveni for the favours bestowed upon him and an ambition to be given Kadaga’s job one day.

Ssemuju at once describes Oulanyah as a “tool of President Museveni’s “oppression” and “a victim
who needs our collective effort to liberate him.”

“Part of his problem is that he looks at the office of the Deputy Speaker as a reward from [Museveni],”
Ssemuju says. “He must forever be grateful as he aspires to dislodge Speaker Rebecca Kadaga.”

Analysts say Museveni has always shown that he does not need a strong Speaker or a strong Parliament
that will stand in his way.

At Oulanyah’s wedding at Munyonyo on Jan 19, 2013, President Museveni, who also donated “a few
cows” to the couple, gave a stamp of approval of Oulanyah. He credited him for his role in helping the
NRM win back the Acholi sub-region from what he referred to as “a sectarian political class.”

This is because in the 2011 general elections, Museveni won more votes in the region than his opposition
rivals for the first time since 1996.

“Initially, we had a problem with a reactionary and sectarian political class in Acholi. But with the help
of people like Betty Bigombe, Oulanyah, and OkelloOryem, things have changed,” Museveni said.

Oulanyah, therefore, appears less dispensable to Museveni and the NRM than Kadaga.

Oulanyah would not mind running Museveni’s errands because he does not have anything to lose but
everything to gain.

He is a Johnny-come-lately to the ruling party. When Museveni was fighting to capture power in the
1980s in the jungles of Luwero, Oulanyahh was a white-shirted school boy at St. Joseph College Layibi
and Kololo Secondary School.

He entered politics barely 10 years ago in 2001 and moreover on an opposition UPC ticket until 2006
when he crossed to NRM.

But even as a UPC MP, Oulanyah did good work for Museveni in the 7th Parliament when he chaired
the Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Committee. The Committee, which largely criticised for being “a
mere rubber stamp,” was responsible for ‘okaying’ the Bill that amended the Constitution to scrap
term limits, which gave President Museveni the leeway to continue in power.

Oulanyah subsequently lost his Omoro County seat to his UPC rival but was never out of a job. He
eventually bounced back as an MP in 2011 thanks to the robust financial backing by the NRM to help
him beat his rival Simon ToolitAkecha with just over 1,900 votes.

He is also the only NRM MP among the four in Gulu District and was lucky to retain his seat after a
court petition almost overturned his victory.

To become a Deputy Speaker who is now exercising authority over diehard NRM supporters including
bush-war ‘historicals’ is like a dream come true. Many pundits did not expect him to wrestle the
Deputy Speakership from NRM stalwarts such as Wilfred Nuwagaba who had been widely tipped to
take the job.

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At just 48, Oulanyah is relatively a young man with a bigger portion of his political future still ahead of
him; so he knows that he has more to lose if he does not remain in the good books of the NRM.

Oulanyah therefore knows that he owes his political career to President Museveni and toeing the NRM
line appears to be the most reasonable thing to do.

Even if he were to lose the Omoro County seat to the Opposition in the 2016 elections, he knows he
could be assured of a good job in the government.

Kadaga, on the other hand, is unlikely to lose her Kamuli District Women seat in Parliament.

Her showing of more resolve in ensuring the independence of Parliament from Museveni has been
praised by some MPs and political observers. But it appears to be brewing trouble for her.

Highly placed sources suggested that moves had been made to remove Kadaga from Parliament and
shunt her into the Judiciary as a Supreme Court Judge, but she did not appear to show any interest.

The Speaker or Deputy Speaker can be removed with a petition of not less than one third of signatures
(120 members) and two thirds of votes in the plenary. Kadaga is aware that Museveni can easily garner
those votes. As a result, she possibly has to constantly look over her shoulder because there is a
precedent of a Speaker being removed from office prematurely.

The late James Wapakhabulo, a man dubbed Uganda’s best ever Speaker of Parliament, was in 1998
dropped in the middle of his term.

Having steered the Constituent Assembly across the turbulent constitution-making waters,
Wapakhabulo was a natural choice for the role of Speaker when he was elected as MP in the 1996
general elections. Barely two years later in the job, he lost the Speakership and was instead pushed to
be National Political Commissar.

Pundits claim he was punished for being too principled, too balanced, and too fair in the House, to the
chagrin of the executive.

Only days before he died in early 2004, Wapakhabulo wrote to Museveni warning him against his
attempt to lift term limits from the Constitution so that he could remain in power.

Wapakhabulo was replaced by Francis Ayume who did well for the NRM and was later rewarded with
an appointment as Attorney General.

Ayume’s successor Edward Ssekandi also worked well for his party and was rewarded with an
appointment to the lofty office of Vice President which he occupies today.

Apart from the direct danger to Kadaga, Prof. Frederick Jjuuko, a professor of jurisprudence at
Makerere University, says her rift with Oulanyah and Museveni might hurt Parliament.

Jjuuko says Kadaga is selfishly more focused on keeping her personal record intact than protecting the
integrity of Parliament. He says Kadaga, as an individual, needs to be viewed apart from her office.

“The two are different,” he said. “The Office of the Speaker is a constitutional office and must get more
protection from the one who holds it. Unfortunately, it is Kadaga and not the Office of the Speaker that
is being protected.”

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He added, “But the underlying problem is that the regime long ago switched into survival mode
and the reality is that President Museveni’s government has no capacity to contribute to democratic
governance as its capacity to do so was exhausted many years ago.”

Jjuuko said Parliament as an institution has been reduced to a group of personalities each seeking
his/her own interests and not the interests of Ugandans or the country at large. Aaron Mukwaya, a
Makerere University professor of political science, agrees and sees an even bigger problem, which he
calls “de-instutionalisation” of Parliament, the Office of the Speaker and the office of the MP. He says
this is a deliberate result of the ruling NRM party’s apparent objection to the existence of other strong
and independent institutions.

“What you have here is a Parliament that is supposed to be the voice of the people but has become
an omnibus of self-seekers to whom loyalty to Museveni is all that matters,” he said. “It’s beyond
reclamation; what this country needs now is a re-awakening of national consciousness to get new
leadership.”

However, despite all the goings on, Hellen Kaweesa, the Parliament spokesperson, continues to dismiss
claims that there is a rift between Kadaga and her Deputy.

She said they can and have always been able to resolve their issues amicably as “mature people.”

Even Ofwono Opondo, the executive director of the Uganda Media Centre and a government
spokesman, continues to speak of a “symbiotic relationship” between parliament and the executive.

But observers like Kasango say the various stakeholders – Kadaga, Oulanyah, Chief Whips, caucus
chairpersons, the Leader of Government Business (Prime Minister) and Leader of Opposition need to
have more behind- the-scenes engagements to resolve the impasse.

Veteran legislator Cecilia Ogwal agrees and blames the situation on the character of leaders this country
has, adding that it is difficult to understand why for instance Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi would
find it easier to speak to the media about the Speaker than to have a dialogue with her personally.

Ogwal says, however, the situation is not beyond redemption. But if Museveni continues to make
“Parliament an extension of the Executive,” Ugandans should only brace themselves for the worst
because even the government would not function properly as it should, and the country would only
sink deeper into despondency.

As Prof. Mukwaya told The Independent, in every democracy worth its name, the three arms of the State
must offer the checks and balances that enable the state to function properly. The extent to which the
Executive will allow that to happen is what remains to be seen.

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING – PARLIAMENT


Headline: MPs spend Shs 30bn on trips

Author: Sulaiman Kakaire (skakaire@observer.ug)

Publication: The Observer

Date: October 25, 2013

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Website: http://observer.ug/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=28211:mps-
spend-shs-30bn-on-trips&catid=78:topstories&Itemid=116

Sometime this year, a parliamentary committee received an invitation to attend a high-level seminar in
one of the European capitals. The event was to be over in a couple of hours.

But the idea of flying to Europe for a single-day event appeared difficult to sell to parliamentary
authorities. The MPs had to think hard.

By the time Parliament approved the trip, the MPs were to spend four days out there, representing,
among other things, a sharp rise in the allowances due to them. While we cannot name the MPs
involved for legal reasons, this case represents a simmering crisis of integrity into which some MPs are
plunging Parliament, with foreign trips being seen as a chance for MPs to tour, shop, and make money.

And the figures show an unprecedented appetite for travel among MPs of the 9th Parliament. In just
three years, MPs will have travelled round the world at a cost of Shs 29.2bn, a sum arguably enough to
give 7,400 lowest-paid Ugandan teachers a 20 per cent pay rise raise for one year.

The Shs 29.2bn travel bill is Shs 7bn more than the Shs 22bn the eighth Parliament spent in five years
The Observer can reveal.

According to ministry of Finance figures, the Shs 29.2bn includes Shs 9.8bn meant to be spent this
financial year on foreign travel and the Shs 9.9bn and 9.5bn spent in financial years 2011/2012 and
2012/13, respectively.

Parliament’s expenditure on travel abroad between 2006 and 2011 was always capped at between Shs
4bn and Shs 5bn.

Whereas travel abroad is one way parliament executes its oversight and legislative roles, there are
concerns over whether the high expenditure is justified.

“It is good for lawmakers to travel if they are benchmarking on a bill, investigating an issue of public
importance or going out to attend conferences for capacity building but we should be cautious of how
much we spend on it as an activity,” says Mathias Mpuuga, the Masaka municipality MP.

MPs get to travel abroad in two ways. One can be nominated by a committee to do work on its behalf, or
the speaker’s office can nominate MPs to attend foreign meetings to which Ugandan MPs are invited.

MPs sanctioned to travel are facilitated by the Parliamentary Commission. Each financial year, every
committee of parliament is allocated at least Shs 400m for travel abroad while the rest of the money is
controlled by the speaker’s office.

Love for travel

The allure of foreign trips was brought into sharp focus last year, when the Kanungu Woman MP
Elizabeth Karungi complained to the speaker that she had not been selected for any foreign trip yet
some MPs were jet-setting all the time.

Committee chairpersons have since admitted that they come under a lot of pressure from members
begging for foreign trips.

“For instance, some members on my committee were pushing the committee leadership to sponsor
their travel to the Ugandan North American Association convention yet it was clear to them that this

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was not in line with our work,” says Bunya West MP Vincent Bagiire, vice chairperson of the committee
on Information and Communications Technology.

He insists that his committee has continuously refused to bow to any pressure from members.

“If the chairperson is weak, they can succumb to the pressure; or at times if the chairperson is one of
the beneficiaries, then the travel component is abused,” he said.

Speaker Rebecca Kadaga has in the past declined requests for travel from the Oil probe committee
due to insufficient funds. The committee wanted to travel to Angola and Botswana to learn the best
practices in the extractives sector. The call came just after Parliament had passed two oil bills.

“There was no reason for the trip but you see people want to exploit the travel opportunities as much
as they can,” said one member.

Money mint

So, what is it with travel? Some MPs admit that there is a lot more to this than the popular appeal of
airports and airplanes. For some, travelling abroad is a matter of survival, owing to the allowances
received.

“I know of a colleague who gets less than Shs 3m a month, as most of the money is deducted to clear
[loans]. If he gets an opportunity to travel, it will be a boost,” said Martin Wandera, former Workers’
MP.

On each trip, an MP, who travels business class, gets a per diem of $520 (Shs 1.3m) per day spent
abroad, excluding other expenses. On average, a travel delegation spends at least three days out of
the country. A parliamentary staffer, who recently travelled with some MPs to Asia, told us that some
used the trip to do shopping.

“In a four-day trip these two MPs only appeared for the official business on the last day,” said the
official, who requested anonymity.

Wandera blames this on having a Parliament that is not fairly well exposed.

“Some people have never travelled out of the country; so, they are excited and this puts the speaker or
committee chairpersons in some cases, under pressure because if one group travels, those who don’t
will claim to be sidelined,” he said.

Abuse of procedure

According to Rule 32 of the Parliament Rules of Procedure, “a leader of a parliamentary delegation or


any member acting on his or her behalf, shall within 14 days after returning to Uganda lay on table a
report on the activities of the delegation.”

Our investigation reveals that this rule is rarely complied with and where reports are made they are
not made within the prescribed time.

For instance, a report of the delegation to the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of Nations and
European Union Joint parliamentary assembly standing committee meetings held in Brussels, Belgium
in October 2011 was written and tabled in February, 2012.

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Another, report on the gender responsive budgeting study tour to Rwanda on December 4, 2011, was
written in 2012. No one was sanctioned for the delayed reports. Whereas Rule 32(2), provides that
after the laying of a report under sub rule (1), the speaker may appoint time for debate, the above two
reports have never been debated as required by the rules.

Wandera argues that this abuse of procedure suggests that the travels are often unimportant: “If there
was urgency, the reports would have been made in time but this laxity explains it all.”

Cost of travels

And there is a cost to these travels – mostly inefficiency in the House.

“When these travels are not sanctioned based on their viability to Parliament we end up denying
useful business attention,” says Mpuuga.

Mpuuga cites a case last year, when some MPs travelled to Nairobi for a football tournament, when the
House was considering the Petroleum Production Exploration and Development Bill.

“There was controversy on clause nine but the absence of some crucial members made the executive
carry the vote on the clause that gives ministers more powers in regard to issuing and revoking of
licences to oil companies,” Mpuuga said.

Mpuuga believes attention in parliament should be focused on what happens in the country, not
abroad. Indications are that this is an unattractive option. The in-land travel budget declined from Shs
3.1bn in 2009/10 to Shs 1.9bn in the financial year 2011/12.

“This shows that Parliament travels less to find out what is happening in the country,” Mpuuga said.

Mpuuga argues that the current practice is going to complicate parliament’s efforts at criticising
consumptive spending.

“It is going to be hard for parliament to tell State House to cut its expenditure because of the fact that
you are doing the same,” he said.

State House is going to spend Shs 15 billion on travel abroad this year.

The problem

According to an analyst attached to Parliament’s Budget office, the root of the problem lies in the
Constitution – which made Parliament self-accounting.

“Unlike other government departments whose expenditure can be reviewed by Parliament, the House
is not reviewed by anyone,” this officer said.

One senior clerk at Parliament concurs. This clerk says having politicians manage foreign trips also
leads to patronage, with MPs being careful not to disagree with those who nominate them. This means,
even within committees, an MP’s intellectual autonomy can get undermined.

“The decentralization of travels has led to abuse because initially everything was managed
by the clerk who would only sanction a trip based on its value,” the senior clerk says.
On the contrary, countries such as the UK have salary review bodies that check any determination
made by the legislature.

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Baseline Study of Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

Parliament speaks

Paul Wabwire, the deputy Clerk in charge of Parliament Affairs, admits that trips are sometimes
abused. This is why his office has directed all clerks to committees to ensure that MPs follow the rules.

“We have set up measures and in my communication to the clerks I did state that for any travel,
it has to be sanctioned by the speaker for members, and clerk to Parliament for staff before
any delegation leaves,” Wabwire said, referring to an internal memo dated August 12, 2012.

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Press Coverage of Public Affairs in Uganda

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