In 2016, GLCSMS and TND News founder, Milton Emmy Akwam, Zainabu Adong (that time working with Radio Wa), Immaculate Amony (that time working with Radio Wa), Isaac Otwii (that time a freelancer with Daily Monitor), Irene Akello (that time working with Radio Wa), Frank Okot (that time working with Daily Monitor), and others initiated an idea to have a conference with a purpose of bringing together, both journalists in Lango sub-region, leaders at various levels, and members of the Civil Society Organization.
Ahead of the conference held on 16 September 2016, the journalists and freelancers mentioned above, and others mobilized personal resources and fortunately, Lira District Local Government, under the then CAO, Mr Eias Byamungu supported our initiative with shs3m. Unfortunately, the district’s account officials only gave us shs1m. Nonetheless, the conference, first of its kind in entire northern Uganda, went on well, and ended successfully. 120 people attended, including Office of the President (RDC – Mwaka Emmanuel Lutukumoi), LC5 Chairperson, Erute South MP, Hon. Jonathan Odur, Lira NGO Forum under the then Executive Director, Paul Achak, Regional Police Commanders from Erute Region Police Headquarters, among other key persons.
Because of some many challenges, above all lack of support and no ‘formal umbrella’ to help move forward to having continuous conferences, it was impossible to hold 2017 and 2019 Media Conferences.
However, after a number of consultations, recalls and little support, we were able to strategize and hold “2nd Annual Media Conference 2019” under the theme: “Roles of Media, Stakeholders in Development and Prosperity”. The 2nd conference was a big success, drawing 120 participants, among them State Minister for Northern Uganda, Hon. Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny (Guest of Honor), Hon. Richard Omara Awio, a representative from the Office of the LC5 Chairman, Lira District Local Government, Morris Chris Ongom, CEO, Global Forum for Development (GLOFORD Uganda), Hon. Dr Benson Obua Ogwal (Keynote Speaker), Associate Professor, Opio Okaka Dokotum, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Lira University, Mr Edwin Atukunda Beekunda, Director, Edwin Foundation Tea Initiative (EFOTI Ltd), and hundreds of journalists from Gulu, West Nile and Lango sub-regions.
The conference focused on roles both media houses, individual journalists can play in shaping the society, and above all, the conference looked into the challenges media houses are facing in performing their daily tasks.
The chief convener, Milton Emmy Akwam has had a passion to see media house and journalists plying in northern Uganda are well equipped, retrained, supported with gadgets, well informed and paid well.
Also, in doing so, Mr Akwam feels like journalists in Central or Western Uganda, those in northern Uganda have, or can have same eminence like their other colleagues. “I have seen, and I can trust that northern Uganda media houses and journalists have been left to survive on their own. Development partners don’t support upcountry media very much; the disparity is too much. I think the Annual Media Conference we organize and have here will help sort out this problem,” Akwam said, in 2019.
The 2019 Media Conference, hosted by All Saints University Lango (ASUL), tasked leaders, government and private officials to freely give needed information to journalists without hesitation.