CoST Uganda brings together key media influencers to further infrastructure transparency reporting

From 21 - 22 February, CoST Uganda held an intensive media training with key media influencers from Uganda to focus on reporting effectively on infrastructure transparency issues. Participants heard from government communications personnel and CoST Uganda who presented on the need for reporting on infrastructure transparency and collaboration among stakeholders. In interactive sessions participants developed stories using CoST resources and influential journalists from core national outlets in Uganda, New Vision and NTV shared their experiences.

Participants at the CoST Uganda media trainingLast year, the CoST Uganda Scoping Study demonstrated an inadequate level of data disclosed by those contracted to carry out public infrastructure projects – the procuring entities. Among other things, this emphasised the need for a legal mandate on data disclosure. Later, the CoST Uganda First Assurance Report which interpreted and validated the level of transparency on five major road sector projects presented serious concerns, such as budgets and timeframes being exceeded, and a lack of control processes which had impacted on quality construction and the health and safety of workers.

Since the publication of the these reports, CoST Uganda has developed and worked closely with journalists and civil society to ensure information in its assurance reports reaches citizens. This latest training builds on these relationships and an initial understanding of CoST so that media coverage can be obtained on a wider national scale.    

During the training, technical issues on public procurement were outlined to journalists and facilitators focused on the key tools journalists could use to find information. These included CoST Uganda’s recent and forthcoming assurance reports, the Access to Information Law and online accessible platforms such as AskYourGov.    

Over 30 media personnel from diverse positions across TV, radio and print press were trained – including senior editors, talk-show hosts and investigative journalists. 

Speaking just after the event, journalist from New Vision, Anne Mugisa said: “I have been interested in reporting on Infrastructure projects, but have been wondering on who to approach, how to retrieve information and what information I should ask for. This training has resolved a lot of those issues, particularly in relation to understanding how requests can be made on the Access to Information Law. Now that I know this, I am sure I will be able to report more on these issues.”   

To end the event, CoST Uganda launched its CoST Media Prize which will be awarded to five journalists bringing core infrastructure transparency concerns into the public domain. The Prize mirrors a message repeated in the training, that reporters should focus on bringing solutions to the issues raised rather than solely focused on critique, doing so will help to ensure government, industry and media work better to pursue infrastructure transparency.

Coverage from the training 

Media challenged to speak out more boldly on impunity and corruption
Best Ugandan infrastructure reporters to be rewarded
Ofwono Opondo Blasts government for not doing much to contain acts of “Black Security” agents 

Useful links 

CoST Uganda First Assurance Report 
Further information on the Assurance process 
Read more about CoST Uganda 
Date Published: 23 March 2018
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