Saturday, February 10, 2007

WBS Endangered Namayanja's Kids

While I appreciate Drake Ssekkeba’s Vumbula programme on WBS TV on February 9th highlighting the problems Ms. Charity Namayanja is facing, I think he stepped overboard in revealing her children’s identity on TV. As minors, they are the most vulnerable in that family saga in which one purported to be their father is being accused of attempting to murder them, their mother and grandmother. Ssekkeba and WBS’s overzealousness in chasing a sensational story may actually have placed the children in more danger, exposed them to ridicule as well as other forms of unhealthy attention.

After eight years in operation, it is a shame that WBS is still miles away from ethical journalistic practice. If they have not fixed that by now, we all have to be worried about the standards at our leading electronic media houses and the training systems we have in the country. If a veteran like Ssekkeba can fail to appreciate that minors should be protected in news stories, what are we to expect from his charges? A leaf should be borrowed from Betty Tibaleka’s The Untold Story that aired the same night on UBC TV in which the featured guest, a minor female victim of rape by her father, had her identity protected. That was professional, that is how things are done.