Journalists in Lango sub-region yesterday visited Lira Regional Referral Hospital and supported mothers in the children’s ward with sugar, washing and toilet soap.

The gesture came as part of activities meant to mark this year’s World Press Freedom Day under the theme: “21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers.” Members of Lango United Journalists Association (LUJA) said the gifts was a gesture of solidary with the community.

Led by LUJA chairperson Nancy Obita, General Secretary Hudson Apunyo and Coordinator Francis Ogema, LUJA members gave out a bar of soap, tablet of soap and kilo of sugar each to over 100 mothers attending to their children in ward 6 and Therapeutic Feeding Centre.

The hospital Director Dr. Jane Aceng Ocero commended the journalists for extending hand to mothers and children. “I am grateful and appreciate LUJA for extending help to mothers and children,| Dr. Aceng said.

Dr Aceng said children and mothers are most vulnerable people during time of sickness and any other form of problems. |If groups like LUJA offer assistance, we are very grateful.”

The Director said she pray this is just the beginning and may continue every year. LUJA Chairperson Nancy Obita called on proprietors of media houses to improve on the welfare of the journalists. Ms Obita is particularly concerned about capacity building and remuneration. She said some media houses in the region pay peanut to their employees.

“I call on the media houses to build capacity of journalists to help them cope up with the new challenge,” she said. Every year, May 3rd is a date which celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

May3 was proclaimed World Press Freedom Day the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO's General Conference in 1991. The major events of this year are in Washington DC and New York (USA), alongside local and regional events all over the world.

Yesterday’s World Press Freedom Day came amidst concerns about the growing intolerance towards the media by government security agencies, especially during the ongoing walk-to-work protests in which many journalists have been targeted and assaulted.

The Human Rights Network for Journalists in Uganda says 55 journalists have been victims of violence – often meted out by government agents – over the last six months. New York-based Human Rights Watch says at least 40 Ugandan journalists have been slapped with criminal charges since 2005.

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