Today marks the 30th anniversary of World Press Freedom Day, a global celebration that emphasizes the significance of press freedom and reminds governments of their responsibility to uphold the right to freedom of expression.
At the Media Challenge Hub, journalists gathered to commemorate the occasion and engage in a panel discussion on the theme of “Journalists’ Neutrality in Political Engagement.”
In his keynote speech, Andrew Mwenda, Founder and owner of The Independent, emphasized the importance of journalists serving the interests of the public and being viewed as individuals operating within a larger framework. He stressed the need for journalists to establish relationships with their subjects while maintaining objectivity, which he regarded as a quality of beauty in journalism.
However, Dr. Patricia Litho, speaking on the panel, offered a different perspective. She argued that “neutrality, objectivity, and impartiality” can already be seen as biases, as they favor those in power and ignore the voices of the marginalized. Dr. Litho urged journalists to be aware of their audience and to provide context in their reporting.
Tracy Kansiime, Co-founder of NaLaw, echoed this sentiment, stating that journalists should acknowledge the assumptions held by their audience and be willing to step back from certain stories. She emphasized the importance of neutrality as the ability to recognize diverse opinions beyond one’s own and assured that it would be reflected in the quality of their work.
The discussion shed light on the complex nature of journalistic neutrality and the challenges faced by reporters in their pursuit of balanced and informative reporting. As the world celebrates World Press Freedom Day, journalists are reminded of their crucial role in upholding the principles of press freedom and ensuring the public’s right to access unbiased information.