Public trust in the information disseminated by radio is declining from 79% to 61% but remains well ahead of other forms of media, a new report released by Tweweza has revealed.
The findings were released on Wednesday morning and coincided with the World Press Freedom Day celebrations.
In a brief titled “Citizens views and experiences on the media and press freedom of expression”, the report indicates that public trust in the information disseminated by Television is at 45%.
According to the report, the number of citizens who trust information obtained from other sources like public meetings, newspapers, social media has also dropped.
It has however indicated that public support for freedom of expression and access to information is consistently high, and rising.
The report indicates that the citizens are consistently positive about radio and radio journalists in Uganda and they believe that the national media play a valuable and constructive role in national life.
“Citizens’ media habits are evolving, with radio’s dominance declining and different demographic groups using different forms of media for information. Separate conversations representing different parts of society could lead to increasing division and exclusion,” the report states .
The survey stated that citizens support freedom of expression in principle but have concerns that this right is not upheld in practice, with many feeling unable to criticise certain national leaders.
According to the survey, Ugandan citizens have a high level of confidence in the media, more so with radio, which they trust, find valuable and constructive, and view as representing people like them.
The Country Lead Twaweza Uganda, Violet Alinda, said over the last five years, there has been growing diversification in terms of how citizens access information.
“It should be noted that the growth in the use of other platforms remains very small. Whereas radio dropped from 79% to 60%, it remains the most trusted source of information at 61% followed by TV at 45%, and the least trusted form of information is the social media dropping from 10% in 2019 to 4% as we speak,” she said.
This has huge implications on the stakeholders, especially the journalists that have to maintain this trust by ensuring that they are sharing accurate, reliable and timely information but most important increasing, the information that inspires you cannons to take action.
Alinda said a constrained media is an opportunity lost to the country, because then critical information is unable to reach citizens in time to cause the needed transformative action.
“Our data shows that Ugandans remain strongly in support of the protection of the media freedoms that is the freedom of expression and the right of access to information.
In 2019, this support stood at 81% compared to 83% in 2023.
Alinda called on the government to remove the barriers that continue to stifle the work of the journalists so that we can together contribute to the development of the country.
“The media remains our closest ally that have helped us at human stories to the data and infused this information and evidence in the public discourse. We have worked together for a long time and we appreciate the professionalism that you exercise. I take this opportunity to thank you for staying the course,” she said.