Minister Frank Tumwebaze has urged the NRM leadership to embrace Social Media as an effective tool in fighting political propaganda that continuously tarnish the image of Government and the ruling NRM Party.
The Minister has observed that gradually Social Media has transitioned from being a means of socialising among distant friends to a leading source of news given the speed at which they propagate. He was this Monday morning presenting a paper to the NRM Caucus on Understanding & Making use of Social Media as an enabler & not a disruptor He mentioned that of recent, even Electronic Media Presenters/Deejays carry iPads or smart phones coppying and reading directly from the Sicial Media Platforms to their viewers or listeners.
DISCIPLINE IS KEY
The ICT Minister has however partly blamed the negative publicity against government on how Govt/NRM officials conduct themselves in public. "Bad press against Govt is sometimes facilitated by how we communicate & behave in public as Govt or NRM leaders", the minister said. He added, "If the President communicates and another leader or Govt official contradicts or attacks the President, it becomes good fodder for the media and our opponents". He appealed to the top Party leadership to tame such indiscipline which he said divides the membership and portrays the political leadership as not being in charge.
CREDIBILITY & INTEGRITY OF CONTENT
Tumwebaze lectured at length on the content that goes out in Social media saying that it helps in winning the audience you are courting. "However much smart you are at communication, the credibility and integrity of your content will always save or sell you in winning the audience", he advised.
The minister was dismayed to learn that there are few govt officials hooked on social media to defend both the party and the govt. He said for example that by the end of last year (2018), only 51 out of 243 NRM Legislators had opened both Facebook & Twitter Accounts but with still a fewer number of them being active. Of the 33 Permanent Secretaries, only 8 were active. He however noted that the numbers had since started going up.
GOVT COMMUNICATION OFFICERS
The Minister revealed that the ministries had designated Communication Officers some of whom dont take this role as a routine job and that some have not even opened up social media pages, while others were not active. He signalled out a few govt parastatals with relatively good knowledge about their sectors and active social media platforms. These include KCCA, URA, UNRA, UCC & NWSC among others.
SUSTAINABLE WAY FORWARD
Hon. Tumwebaze finally appealed to the legislators to value communication in these modern times as an important and strategic activity of political power and an essential tool in the management of public affairs. "We should all go online to participate in debate. World over, political leaders have embraced social media as a universal platform of communication", he stressed. He commended President Museveni whom he said commanded a big following on social media.