On May 3rd, 2024, Uganda will once again join the global community in observing World Press Freedom Day, a tradition dating back to 1993 when it was established by the United Nations General Assembly. This year, the theme, ‘A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the face of the Environmental Crisis,’ underscores the crucial role of journalism and freedom of expression in addressing the pressing global environmental challenges.

World Press Freedom Day serves as a reminder to governments and the public to uphold press freedom commitments, reflect on professional ethics, and support journalists who face risks due to their work. Tragically, in 2023, 99 journalists and media workers lost their lives worldwide.

In Uganda, media organizations, led by the Uganda Media Sector Working Group (UMSWG), are rallying together to shed light on the environmental crisis gripping the nation. This consortium includes both state and non-state partners, united in their commitment to highlighting environmental issues through journalism.

The environmental crisis in Uganda is stark, marked by soil degradation, deforestation, overfishing, and pollution. These challenges stem from unsustainable economic activities, poor waste management, and inadequate governance.

In response, media stakeholders are calling for increased reporting on environmental issues and better support for journalists covering these critical topics.

The commemoration of World Press Freedom Day in Uganda will extend throughout the week, featuring events in Kampala and four regional hubs. Activities include a national dialogue on media and the environment, tree planting initiatives, regional dialogues, sports events, photo exhibitions, and media campaigns.

As media stakeholders advocate for greater environmental awareness, they also call upon the government to enact policies supportive of press freedom and environmental reporting. Additionally, they urge the public to provide information and support to journalists covering environmental issues.

In the face of the escalating environmental crisis, the collaboration between media, government, and the public is essential to safeguarding press freedom and addressing environmental challenges effectively.

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