Examining the contribution of social media to the practice of citizen journalism in Uganda
Nakato, Joyce R.
MetadataShow full item record
The study examines the contribution of social media to the practice of citizen journalism in Uganda. It arose out of a need to address the challenge of minimal academic research that has so far been carried out around this topic. This is because the research that has been carried out so far has mainly concerned itself with the impact of citizen journalism on the practice of traditional journalism, while minimal studies have examined the practice of citizen journalism itself. This has in turn created an academic gap on literature around the practice of citizen journalism in Uganda. The study was guided by three specific objectives; 1) to examine the practice of citizen journalism in Uganda. 2) to assess the contribution of social media to the practice of citizen journalism in Uganda. 3) to examine the challenges faced by citizen journalists who use social media to practice citizen journalism in Uganda. The study used a qualitative research design with purposive sampling and interviews as the main technique for data collection. In-depth interviews were conducted using an interview guide as the data collection tool. Data collected was analyzed through qualitative content analysis and thematic content analysis. The Public Sphere and Alternative Media theories underpinned this study. The findings revealed that non-institutionalized citizen journalism is practiced in Uganda with social media as the major tool available to citizen journalists to create content and also disseminate it immediately to an already established audience. The findings also revealed that citizen journalists in Uganda face enormous challenges relating to difficulty in accessing the Internet, the high cost of surfing the net as well as regressive policies that have been enacted to regulate its use. The study, therefore, recommends that government improves on the country’s Internet infrastructure and also institutes favorable polices for the regulation of the Internet. This will enhance the participation of citizens in the democratic sphere through the enjoyment of fundamental rights such as freedom of expression, association, the right to information, among others.