KAMPALA - Journalists from the East African Community have challenged the Community’s secretariat to be ‘more open’ when availing them with information on affairs that concern the bloc.
The journalists voiced their concerns during discussions they held with EAC officials, at the just concluded 3rd EAC Media Summit in Kampala, Uganda.
They among other things requested the secretariat to task the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) with the role of informing the region’s citizens on different issues that affect them.
“Like the African Union, the EAC does not have many people who know much about what they do, yet these issues directly affect the people,” Grace Matsiko, a journalist pointed out.
The reporters also requested that one legislator out of the nine representatives from every partner state be tasked with liaising with the media in their respective countries to debate and discuss integration issues.
Zephania Ubwani a journalist with The Citizen, asked the secretariat to facilitate reporters in visiting ongoing EAC projects, arguing that with this, the media would authoritatively report on integration matters.
“There is congestion at the Namanga border of Tanzania and Kenya. Facilitation should be availed to enable us report on all other EAC borders that have similar or different problems,” Ubwani suggested.
But the acting EAC Principal Public Relations Officer, Owora Richard Othieno, dismissed this, saying the secretariat had already started facilitating journalists on project tours.
“We are already facilitating reporters and as I speak, a team of journalists has left for Namanga border,” Othieno responded.
“We shall also soon commission a study across East Africa to establish how much people are informed on issues concerning the region.”
On EALA liaising with the media, EAC Secretary General Juma Mwapachu said that he pass the request to the EALA Speaker for further consideration.