Journalists from northern Uganda scoop three conservation awards

PHOTO: Peter Labeja of Radio Rupiny posing with his Award for the best radio story – Photo by Vision Group

It was a thrilling night for journalists from northern Uganda on Friday last week after they emerged as the best in all three radio categories at the Uganda Conservation Media Awards 2023.

First of its kind in Uganda, the award ceremony was organized by the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) in Kampala with the aim of “rewarding outstanding reporting about wildlife conservation and environmental issues and also promoting the coverage across forms of media”.

The victorious journalists – who are also members of the Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC)– included Denis Omony, a journalist attached to Mega FM, who won the ‘Community Conservation’ category (radio); Chowoo Willy, News Editor at Choice FM, won the ‘Habitats and Environment’ category (radio); Peter Labeja, the Programs Controller at Radio Rupiny topped the ‘Wildlife Crime’ category (radio).

Omony said; “[I am] super excited to achieve this significant milestone. I want to express my gratitude to Uganda Wildlife Authority, Wild Aid and of course, Mega FM, for always bringing my work to the world’s attention – we celebrate these achievements together colleagues”.

Labeja added: “Thanks team NUMEC for the heartwarming congratulatory messages. We are all winners tonight” while Chowoo, in a heartwarming message, simply said, “ Thank you God almighty” on the night filled with emotions.

UWA Executive Director, Sam Mwandha said the awards are meant to “encourage, motivate and inspire journalists to produce the best in conservation reporting” adding that “the media plays a critical role in raising awareness” about conservation issues.

NUMEC Programs Coordinator, Charles Akena, said the winning journalists have “set the pace for a legacy not only for northern Uganda but also nationally on conservation and biodiversity”.

In the ceremony, which was co-sponsored by the Wild Aid, a conservation group, each winner was awarded a cash prize of 5,000,000 Uganda shillings, a winner’s plaque and free entry to Uganda’s national parks for the winner for one year.