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COVID-19 and the Media in Sub-Saharan Africa: Media viability, Framing and Health Communication

By Jimmy Siyasa

This book, published by Emerald Publishing House, is an amalgam of research works seeking the nexus between Media and COVID-19 from a diversity of perspectives, though with a strict focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.

The global outbreak of COVID-19 led to a rise in research studies seeking to understand the nexus between Media and COVID-19. However, little attention had been paid to this subject in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa. This book is an attempt to address this research gap by providing a comprehensive overview of the role of media in the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. It contains contributions from leading scholars in the field, with many of them active academics and industry players at Uganda Christian University (UCU), who offer a variety of perspectives on the topic.

The book is edited by Dr. Carol Azungi Dralega of NLA University College, Norway, and Dr. Angella Napakol of Uganda Christian University, Uganda.

ABRIDGED FOREWORD

Click here to get the Full Book

COVID-19 and the Media in Sub-Saharan Africa is among the first books uniting scholars to examine media viability, framing and health crisis communication connected to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. The findings may be applicable also to other global crises, both in and outside of Sub-Saharan Africa, and may help practitioners and scholars alike to understand the complexity of preconditions and structures of media ecologies.

The highly diverse cases are characterized by the authors’ first-hand knowledge of the media in the Sub-Saharan African context. Focusing on newly collected cases from a broad number of countries, the authors study whether the pandemic changed the conditions for media viability, framing, and outreach. It also covers concrete examples of how the specific health communication led to changes in social behaviour and mental health. Last, but not least, it provides gendered and marginalisation lenses to understand barriers for media users and media producers.

The highly diverse cases are characterized by the authors’ first-hand knowledge of the media in the Sub-Saharan African context. Focusing on newly collected cases from a broad number of countries, the authors study whether the pandemic changed the conditions for media viability, framing, and outreach. It also covers concrete examples of how the specific health communication led to changes in social behaviour and mental health. Last, but not least, it provides gendered and marginalisation lenses to understand barriers for media users and media producers.

Throughout the pandemic, publishing houses in Sub-Saharan Africa and around the world faced severe obstacles. In different ways, the pandemic influenced the room for manoeuvres. Different conditions were involved and influenced whether media content was published, and with what quality. Three factors were key: political conditions, financial resources, and the level of journalistic expertise. If there was political room for manoeuvre, if there were sufficient financial resources, and if there was a high level of competence, the media was often found to disseminate independent, critical, and research-based information, monitor public institutions, and provide a platform for public debate and dialogue.

The authors connect these factors with media viability and media framing. Based on empirical data and theoretical perspectives, they challenge traditional understandings of media. To understand factors preventing and promoting critical and fact-based media during the COVID-19 pandemic, the researchers looked at both the media’s finances and priorities, the individual journalist’s competence and resilience, and the political influence that publishing houses and journalists were exposed to through propaganda and restrictions on media freedom.

Margot Skarpeteig Program Manager– Human Rights, Inclusion and Empowerment, the World Bank

How conspiracy beliefs affect COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy

By Dr. Emilly Comfort Maractho

The outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in 2020 created substantial fear among communities and countries about the future. It seemed to have come from ‘nowhere’ even after China announced its arrival. Many questions arose as to whether it was deliberately created and released by scientists and their allies for some unknown reasons. 

Governments across the globe launched interventions to facilitate the public’s compliance with preventive and mitigative measures, also known as Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). The measures included physical distancing also known as social distancing, regular handwashing, wearing masks, and vaccination to boost herd immunity

Speculation soon became a common feature of COVID-19, about the cause, the effects, and the people behind it. Theories begun to emerge around these issues. 

Uganda enacted legislations, restrictions, policies and interventions to prevent and mitigate the spread and impact of COVID-19. These included, but were not limited to, the Uganda Public Health (Control of COVID – 19) Rules, 2020; guidelines on mass gatherings including social meetings such as burials and weddings; guidelines on meeting at workplaces, guidelines on use of public transport; among others.  

Whereas the world was relieved about the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, emergent concerns around safety and effects were prevalent. The concerns and doubts about vaccines were mainly driven by conspiracy theories related to COVID-19 vaccination, sometimes widely shared among the population.  

Conspiracy theories cannot be taken lightly. At Uganda Christian University, Prof. Kukunda Elizabeth Bacwayo, an Associate Prof. of Governance and Development in the School of Social Sciences, with a multi-disciplinary team of colleagues from UCU were awarded a research grant by the university to study how conspiracy beliefs affected COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy in Uganda. In a three-year project that covers a large-scale online and physical survey of over 1000 respondents, to be followed by in-depth interviews, the team aims at examining the conspiracy beliefs and their implications for COVID-19 vaccination in Uganda. 

The research is guided by five specific objectives, namely: 

(i) To measure the extent to which conspiracy belief about vaccination against COVID-19 is spread among Ugandans; 

(ii) To establish the relationship between conspiracy belief and vaccination hesitancy in Uganda; 

(iii) To explore the interaction between exposure to COVID-19 conspiracy theories and individual vaccination decisions; 

(iv) To examine the gendered impact of conspiracy belief on vaccination hesitancy; 

(v) To examine how the conspiracy beliefs of adults are likely to affect decision to vaccinate children for COVID-19.  

The researchers note that, whereas in developed countries studies have already established the significant relationship between conspiracy theories and decline in vaccination rates, such studies are very few in developing countries. For instance, Maftei and Holman in 2020, in their study, ‘beliefs in conspiracy theories, intolerance of uncertainty, and moral disengagement during the coronavirus crisis’ highlighted that conspiracy beliefs had significant impact on disobeying the social distancing regulations seeking to limit the spread of the SARS-CoV-2.

The researchers are aware that in countries like Uganda with a population highly characterized by low education and poor access to information, beliefs in conspiracy theories and impact are expected to be high.  Still, little is known and done to minimize the impact of misinformation on COVID-19 prevention. In addition, with more people owning smartphones, conspiracy theories are likely to flourish as a result of high exposure to various ideas. 

Some of the examples of conspiracy theories include:

  • The belief that the G5 cellular network is responsible for causing COVID-19,
  • Bill Gates’ plan to depopulate the world,
  • Vaccinations having microchips that can be used to monitor behaviour. 
  • Others include the belief that those who get vaccinated will die in a few years, and that the whole COVID-19 pandemic was a political stunt.  

The primary outcome of this study is to understand how conspiracy beliefs affect the individual willingness to get vaccinated. Findings from this study could be used to improve on the efforts geared towards pro-vaccine attitudes and interest in COVID-19 vaccination. The main outcome will be a change in behavior towards vaccination for COVID-19 despite the existence of conspiracy theories and management of future vaccination drives.

The research has gone through both institutional and national ethical clearance processes. The first phase has been completed and will soon be made public. 

Virtual Counseling Room: A possible boost to mental health in Uganda

The Dotcom era

The ongoing digital revolution which started with the internet around 1980, has impacted the way of life and activities in all sectors. As the pace of digital transformation accelerates, the birth of a very connected yet lonely society has become a real threat to mental health. The digital society has seen both the old and young replace human company with the company of digital devices.

Just recently, my 21-year-old “jolly” friend broke into tears after I made a considerably usual statement; “Hey Ian (not real name), you seem very happy these days!”. I said when I had noticed his “over-excitement”, every time we happened to meet. Our conversation revealed to me the depth of prolonged depression and brokenness he was struggling with. “Why hadn’t Ian sought counseling all this while?” I wondered.

Of sad, but happy-looking people

In Uganda, you will often hear the statements; “Guma nga omusajja” or “Guma makazi”, which is literally translated as, “Be strong like a man” or “be strong like a woman”. Just like Ian, many opt to “act” strong and happy instead of seeking counseling due to the fear of being judged among other fears. Thoughts like; “people will see me”, “people will think I am weak”, “I am a leader in society”, and “I am a prominent person”, among others, are killing more people than we realize.

Some reports have indicated that about 7 out of every 10 people with a mental disorder do not seek treatment! So, what can be done?

Here are a few digital solutions to be considered:
  • Develop software, and integrate it with social media platforms and other interactive technologies that would bring together professional counselors and people in need of counseling services without requiring patients/clients to reveal their identities.
  • Create virtual counseling rooms that have invisible counselors and hold virtual counseling sessions to encourage people to seek help anonymously until they are ready for physical interaction.
  • Create a follow-up mechanism for persons that have sought counseling services to monitor the healing process.
  • Leave an avenue for people ready for physical interaction to access them

The health sector, companies/organizations, institutions of learning, and the church, can co-opt some of these suggestions into their existing digital platforms or create them in a situation where they do not exist. Not all happy-looking people are okay. Not all unwell people are getting help! Therefore, We need to create digital platforms to ease access to help. A healthy mind is a healthy person, a healthy person is a healthy society.

Image: Mukalere Justine

The author is a Lecturer at the UCU Department of Computing and Technology

NCC 2022: An insight into the role of Academia in digital transformation

By Mukalere Justine

Uganda Christian University (UCU) participated in the 7th National Conference on Communications (NCC2022) under the theme; “Inclusive Digital Transformation Through Innovation”, which happened between June, 21 -22, 2022.

The annual conference organized by; the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT), Makerere University in collaboration with the Uganda Communications Commission brought various ICT players on the same platform to discuss issues of inclusion through innovation in the digital era. Policymakers (Ministry of ICT, NITA-U), Academia (Institutions of learning), and the industry (RENU, HUAWEI, WUGNET, OUTBOX among others) graced the event.

With the discussions steered in the direction of digital inclusion through innovation, the need to bridge the gap between academia and the industry was very evident.

The question of how the academic institutions teach and train learners to equip them with skills to innovate and serve in the industry became too loud to ignore, requiring an urgent solution to the challenge of inadequate resources and skill gap amidst the various opportunities to light which can be utilized.

Inclusion, innovation, and skill gap is not a conversation to be exhausted in a two-day sitting; prompting the need for policymakers, industry and academia to come together in order to develop a practical, yet sustainable plan on how to support learners in both public and private institutions if the so needed digital transformation is to be realized.

A few proposed ways to encourage and support innovation:
  • Mindset change towards ICT and innovation
  • collaborations between and among academic institutions
  • involvement of the industry players in curricula development
  • development and operationalization of supporting policies
  • creation and equipping of accessible incubation hubs
Left to right; Mr. Kubanja Martin, Katumbire Bobm Kauta Marvin, Nandawula Maria, Akech Mary Francis, Wani Julius, Lukeera Micheal and Ms. Mukalere Justine (sitting)

UCU was physically represented by two lecturers (Ms. Mukalere Justine (Myself) and Mr. Kubanja Martin) and six students from the department of Computing and Technology, with another team of students attending the event online since the conference followed a blended approach (physical and online).

The author is a Lecturer at the UCU Department of Computing and Technology

Promoting Entrepreneurship to Reduce Graduate Unemployment: Book-Release

By Jimmy Siyasa

Just last year, a Daily Monitor report noted that ” At least nine in every 10 Ugandans who have completed any form of education are unemployed.” The same year the National Planning Authority released statistics showing that out of 700,000 that join the job market every year, their qualifications notwithstanding, only 90,000 of those get a form of employment.

With the devastating effect of COVID-19 on the job market, let alone the broader economy, the statistics may have gotten even worse.

Official Release

As a response to this big graduate-unemployment problem, Dr. Isaac Wasswa Katono, Senior Lecturer at the Uganda Christian University School of Business has published a book; the 363-page volume entitled Promoting Entrepreneurship to Reduce Graduate Unemployment for Over 30 Years has been OFFICIALLY RELEASED by IGI-Global, the Publisher.

The book covers a wide range of academic areas including, but not limited to:
  • Career Choice
  • Career identity
  • Entrepreneurial self-efficacy
  • Skills development
  • Social Capital
  • Upskilling graduates

The publisher notes that “Although it will not be a panacea for all the obstacles that impede graduate entrepreneurship, it is hoped that this book will illuminate the entrepreneurship career path, serve as a platform for further diagnosis for reducing graduate unemployment, and highlight areas in need of further research.”

Promoting Entrepreneurship to Reduce Graduate Unemployment seeks to expand understanding of the barriers that face graduates in becoming entrepreneurs in various countries, examining the role of educational institutions in promoting graduate entrepreneurship and evaluating governments as well as other schemes that promote graduate entrepreneurship. 

IGI-Global

Click here for the preface of the book, and here to buy and be able to access the full text.

About Author

Dr. Katono holds a Ph.D. in Business Science and Entrepreneurship from the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa. His Ph.D. thesis is entitled: “Cultural Predictions of Entrepreneurial Orientation and the Moderating Role of Entrepreneurial Competencies on Graduate Entrepreneurial Intentions: A Cross-Sectional Survey of East Africa: The research focuses on the impact of culture on entrepreneurial orientation. 

Digital Praxis: Young innovators hold first boot camp

By Emmanuel Isabirye

10 student teams have undergone Phase one of the Uganda Christian University (UCU) Digital Innovation Praxis Challenge. The phase dubbed ‘Understanding the User’ Ideation Bootcamp took place at the Hamu Mukasa Library, UCU, on Saturday, June 18.

The student teams were trained by digital innovation experts from the UCU Department of Computing and Technology in what is technically called the “structured and human-centered approach”, which involves quick and iterative building and refining of a product/service that would suit the needs of an end consumer.

Emmanuel Isabirye guides one of the student-innovators, Jacqueline Ainabyoona . Photo/ courtesy

During the training, Emmanuel Isabirye, the Co-Team Lead of the UCU Digital Praxis emphasized that “Designing innovations without understanding the user can be socially harmful, time-consuming and cost-inefficient,” he said.

Jacqueline Ainabyoona a third-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSIT), who is doing a project in Digital Agriculture says she learned the value of empathy; putting herself in the shoes of the user in crafting her “My farm” solution, which embraces crowd-farming to enable those who cannot afford to set up farms to rear cattle on a shared basis.

Hereafter, the teams will then be guided to do research, analysis & further rethink their innovations. At the end of the first phase, every student team shall have a well-researched problem, a theoretical solution that meets the user’s needs, and a visual sketch of the solution.

Student-innovators learning during the boot camp. Photo/ Courtesy.

Phase two will consist of prototyping and testing, where the teams shall develop a working prototype that innovatively solves the identified problem. The prototype shall be the proof-of-concept from the teams. Hereafter, the teams will advance to stage 3.

In phase three, a widely-publicized event shall be organized for the student teams to pitch their innovative solutions to the identified problems. The three best teams shall be selected and awarded cash gifts to further improve their projects.

The final (fourth) phase will consist of marketing the student’s innovations to attract potential funders for possible scaling up of the innovations.

An illustration chat.

US departments recognize UCU’s research ethics committee

By Kefa Senoga
The Uganda Christian University-Research Ethics Committee (UCU-REC) has been accredited by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office for Human Research Protection (OHRP) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Osborne Ahimbisibwe, the secretary of the UCU-REC, said the accreditation is a result of UCU-REC’s success in fulfilling its professional duties that include looking out for the privacy and protection of persons in studies. He said the ethics committee is listed on the HHS and OHRP website as the UCU Institutional Review Board (IRB), Number IRB00013492.  

Ahimbisibwe explained that funding agencies use the HHS and OHRP websites to verify that an Institutional Review Board (IRB) or Research Ethics Committee (REC) has an active registration. The OHRP provides leadership in the protection of the rights and well-being of human subjects involved in research conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services while the FDA protects public health by ensuring safety of human drugs.  

“The accreditation means that if someone is coming from the U.S to conduct research in Uganda and they get approval from UCU-REC, the findings of their study will be recognized back in the United States,” Ahimbisibwe explained.

There are a number of Research Ethics Committees in Uganda that include the Uganda Virus Research Institute Research Ethics Committee (UVRI-REC), Mbarara University of Science and Technology Research Ethics Committee (MUST – REC), Nkumba University Research Ethics Committee (NU-REC), and the School of Medicine Research Ethics Committee at Makerere University College of Health Sciences, among others.

Ahimbisibwe explains that the UCU-REC on average does 200 protocol reviews annually and it’s mandatory for postgraduate students and other researchers outside academia, for example, clinical trials. He adds that membership of the committee is comprised of scientific and non-scientific members who are made up of UCU community representatives and non-UCU-affiliated members. 

Commenting on the development, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Rev. Prof. John Kitayimbwa, said that the accreditation is an important development for UCU, which intends to drive the agenda of research. 

A post-graduate student works in the UCU library, which is working to drive the agenda of quality research to increase global visibility and maximize impact of these studies.
A post-graduate student works in the UCU library, which is working to drive the agenda of quality research to increase global visibility and maximize impact of these studies.

“We are transforming the university from one that’s been majorly teaching to a research-led one,” he said. “However, in order to do research, especially where you have human subjects, you have got to do that work ethically.” 

Prof. Kitayimbwa noted that UCU’s REC ensures that the standards, which have been set in terms of the ethical considerations worldwide, are followed when dealing with human subjects in research activity.   

Dr. Angela Napakol, a REC member and senior lecturer at the School of Journalism, Media and Communication, said the accreditation was not only vital in science-related research, but also in other fields, such as social sciences and humanities. 

Napakol noted one example of a researcher who is going to the field to discuss mental health and could bring up sensitive topics that may trigger trauma because of a past experience. If information is not acquired properly, including with sensitivity and respect, the questions can trigger a breakdown. Thus,  it is important to ensure that ethical practices are followed. 

“So, as REC, we want to make sure that the discussions between the researcher and the participants don’t trigger episodes of mental breakdown,” she said.  “That is why we put emphasis on ethical standards.”

Health Crises and Media Discourses in Sub-Saharan Africa: New Book

New Book: Dralega, C.A., and Napakol, A. (eds). Health Crises and Media Discourses in Sub-Saharan Africa. Springer, Cham.

A Review

This is an open-access book that brings together leading scholars and critical discourses on political, economic, legal, technological, socio-cultural and systemic changes and continuities intersecting media and health crises in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

The volume extensively discusses COVID-19 but it also covers other epidemics, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS as well as “silent” health crises such as mental health—simmering across the subcontinent.

The chapters fill knowledge gaps, highlight innovations, and unpack the complexities surrounding the media ecosystem in times of health crises. They explore, among other issues, the politics of public health communication; infodemics; existential threats to media viability; draconian legislations; threats to journalists/journalism; COVID-related entrepreneurship, marginalization, and more.

This is a timely resource for academics, advocacy groups, media practitioners and policymakers working on crises and media reporting, not just in Africa but anywhere in the global South.

Foreword

…Some African responses on media and health issues are examined in this book by a whole new generation of public health communicators who are homegrown, African graduates, sometimes of international research and training collaborations, who are responding to their own particular national environments. Just as African scholarship and health campaign strategy can positively inform global approaches, the support of the big Northern publishers—in this case, Springer—is just as important. Where the earlier generation cut their teeth on HIV/AIDS, the new generation seems destined to deal with successive and increasingly intense and interrelated crises: health, climate change and environmental degradation. Thus this is one book that can speak intelligently to these issues from the perspective of the Global South. And, the task that they are taking on is herculean.

Foreword by Keyan Gray Tomaselli– University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa

The book cover and contents can be accessed here: https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-030-95100-9

About the Editors

Dr. Carol Azungi Dralega is an Associate Professor and Head of Research at the Department of Journalism, Media and Communication, NLA University College, Kristiansand, Norway. She holds a Ph.D. in Media and Communication Studies from the University of Oslo, Norway.

Dr. Angella Napakol is a researcher and Senior Lecturer at the School of Journalism, Media and Communication, Uganda Christian University. She holds a Ph.D. in Mass Communication/Media Studies, from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

UCU signs MoU with UNBS to standardize academic products

By Jimmy Siyasa

Uganda Christian University (UCU) and Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at collaborating on the formulation and promotion of quality standards in Institutions of Higher Learning.

According to the MoU signed on Wednesday, UCU will operate in the core capacity of a ‘research agency’, and supply the Bureau of Standards with the necessary research data that will inform the standardization of curricula, short courses, student internships, and training, among others, nationally.

In return, UCU students will be attached to the internationally accredited laboratories of UNBS and trained on how to undertake quality analysis of product samples, in order to establish safety features UNBS considers before certifying a product. 

“Part of our mentoring and coaching of the university students will involve attaching them to our international standard laboratories,” said David Livingstone Ebiru, the Executive Director of UNBS, who further noted that it is important that students are initiated into a “quality culture” while they are still university.

“The students are future manufacturers, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Therefore, it is important that we try to create awareness on quality standards before they go out into the business world,” he said.

The recruitment of UCU trainees in the laboratories will in the long run enrich the manpower at UNBS, easing the problem of “understaffing”, which was cited as a major challenge in the agency’s 2020/2021 Annual Report to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives.

“The university takes excellence as its mark and this is what we hope for in what we do. So we are very excited for this opportunity since we are at a point where we are transitioning into a research-based university,” said Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Balyejusa Kizito, Director of the Research, Partnership and Innovations directorate. “

UCU’s Vice-Chancellor Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi welcomed the initiative in his speech. “We are ready to work with you on developing standardization curricula, quality assurance courses, teach standards to students and our staff, and other people out there,” Mushengyezi said, after signing the MoU, during the ceremony held at the UCU Principals’hall.  

The UNBS team led by Executive Director David Livingstone Ebiru (Front row- 2nd Lt) and UCU top management staff led by the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi ( Front row- 2nd Rt)pose after the signing of the MoU. Photo/ Jimmy Siyasa

This is the first Memorandum of Understanding that the Bureau gets to sign with a Ugandan University for this cause; UCU has been prioritized as a piloting ground for the project before it can be extended to tertiary institutions and other universities- both private and public. 

UCU signs partnership agreement with AIIJ

By Jimmy Siyasa

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

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

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

Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, the team from AIIJ led by Solomon Sserwanja, Prof. Monica Chibita and other guests going for a photoshoot after signing the agreement. Photo: Courtesy of AIIJ.

During the ceremony, graced by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, acclaimed the partnership saying it would enrich the training of students at SJMC to embrace investigative journalism because some media stories, indeed, “require more research and digging in and that is why investigative journalism is important”.

The partnership was signed on eve of the International Women’s Day, annually celebrated on March 08. Together UCU and AIIJ organized a dialogue hosted by the former, to discuss the role of women and their inclusion in the discipline of investigative journalism.

The panel: Dr. Anette Kezaabu- Head of Post Graduate Studies, SJMC (Far right), Anna Reisman- Country Representative, KAS Uganda and South Sudan (Far left), Cecilia Okoth- Multimedia investigative journalist at New Vision (3rd Right) and Dr. Patricia Litho- Communication Specialist (2nd Left).

During the panel discussion comprised of five, prominent women in the media industry and academia in Uganda, the moderator, Raymond Mujuni, Deputy Executive Director at AIIJ, noted that only a few women in the newsroom were practicing investigative journalism.

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

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

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

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

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