Journalism – Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM)

Jane Kenyi

Kampala, Uganda – Dec 2007

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In the past the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) wasn’t something that many Ugandans took time out to observe. However, this year Uganda hosted CHOGM, not surprisingly, interest in the event amongst the populace was far more pronounced.

A lot of time, effort and money was invested in preparing for the meeting, while there were down sides for some, others experienced the upside e.g. businesses boomed, roads were repaired and new ones constructed, hotels were built and old ones renovated, jobs were created across many different sectors.

45 year old Olive Nabukonde a Veteran Journalist with 21 years experience covered the event. She took some time out to share her views with us.

JK: What were some of the challenges you faced in covering CHOGM?

ON: I had a problem in covering “The People’s Forum” because I found many workshops taking place co-currently. I would have liked to attend more workshops, but you cant’ be in more than one place at the same time, hence I had to resort to collecting handouts which obviously isn’t as good as attending the associated workshop. The time given for press conferences was limited, making it difficult to internalise information.

JK: As a Journalist, were you prepared to cover CHOGM?

ON: Not to the extent I would have liked, but I’m sure other African journalists who covered the event were in a similar position to me.

JK: Why do you think other African journalists were in a similar position?

ON: I could judge from the way some asked questions in the Press conferences, they appeared unsure.

JK: As a journalist, what advice would you give to other African journalists?

ON: I would urge my fellow journalists to be thorough in their research and be more knowledgeable about the issues they are covering. However, I do concede that restrictive governments
and poor infrastructure can hamper good journalism.

JK: What should be done to assist the process?

ON: Leaders should dedicate more resources to ‘Information Communication Technology’ (ICT) and provide a more conducive environment for the press to operate within.
Secondly, before events with a continental focus occur in Africa, the African Union should organize pre inter-continental tele- conferences for journalists who cover such events.

JK: How do you feel after covering CHOGM?

ON: I am pleased because I have been exposed to new things, made contacts and shared experiences with a wide range of people.

JK: Olive, thank you for spending some time with us.