Print media coverage of female politicians in Uganda
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Despite the various developments in the political arena that has led to women taking up political leadership globally, female politicians in Uganda face a number of challenges limiting their rights to participate in democratic processes. Challenges such as discrimination, suppression, intrigue and political malice are prevalent against female politicians in Uganda. This is largely attributed to policies that do not cater for the unique needs of female politicians. Print media as a catalyst has played a role in discouraging participation of women in print through gatekeeping, agenda setting, news framing, media coverage and orienting the public agenda. This study was conceptualized on the precincts of three theories; namely, the gatekeeping theory, agenda setting theory and feminism theory. Constructs of each of these theories have been extracted and introduced to show relationships between them and how they influence media policy for female politicians. A positive relationship was noted in all of the three theories with respect to print media and media policy on female politicians in Uganda. The study adopted a cross-sectional research design and quantitative research methods. Data was collected from a sample of 420 news editors and journalists working with print media companies in Uganda. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect the data. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze background information while exploratory factor analysis methods were used to determine the factors that measured each study variable. Inferential statistics, including correlation and regression analysis methods, were used to test research hypotheses. For improved media policy on female politicians, there is need for journalists, editors and media company owners to conduct proper gatekeeping at the levels of news reporting, news editing, photography and advertisement among others while taking special consideration of female politicians. There is also need to improve media coverage through covering stories about female politicians, requesting female politicians to share their scheduled campaigns, giving priority on gender issues and also including stories about female politicians on the front pages of their news series as well as framing news to highlight successes of female politicians.