|Dr. Carol Getty in action|
This meeting between military and journalists could be taking place at Fort Leavenworth or anywhere else where media mix with soldiers. It just so happens that this particular get-together is in Fort Portal in Western Uganda.
|Dr. Ken Christopher|
The exchange between the media reps and security officials was animated on the first day particularly as each side poked at the other’s sore spots: a media that sometimes favors sensationalism over fact-based reporting, and a security force that isn’t as forthcoming as it could be with reporters.
By the third day of the seminar, sponsored by the US Embassy-Kampala and the Center for Global Peace Journalism at Park University, the participants had come together to produce an anti-terror radio PSA and a plan to work together in the future.
It will be interesting to see if and how the media reps and security folks join forces in the future to combat violent extremism. There was certainly a more formal atmosphere at this seminar (compared to our six other seminars). Participants did speak out, although my colleagues (Carol Getty, Ken Christopher, John Hamilton) and I noticed a reluctance to speak that was not evident at our other seminars. Christopher pointed out that in other seminars he’s taught, participants were sometimes reluctant to speak in front of high ranking individuals, like the UPDF officers and resident district coordinator who were present at this seminar. I think Prof. Christopher's right.
If nothing else, getting the security officials and reporters in the same room talking to one another, and hearing them acknowledge their shared commitment to keeping Ugandans safe, gives me hope that they will better collaborate in the months ahead.
|Prof. John Hamilton on the air in Fort Portal, Uganda|