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What Serwanjja’s AIBs win means for NBS Television’s investigations desk

The hashtag, #NBSInvestigates, is a usual fixture among Ugandan trends online, with some of the most impactful news stories in Ugandan journalism history aired on the segment. It airs during NBS Television’s Monday edition of Live at 9, their prime news bulletin.

Solomon Serwanjja is only one of the investigative reporters that contribute to it, and his piece, done in conjunction with BBC Africa Eye, “Stealing from the Sick”, won a major international award – the Association for International Broadcasting (AIBs) Investigative Documentary Award.

This comes after Solomon Serwanjja was named the 2019 BBC Africa Komla Dumor Award that has him currently training with the BBC in London, England.

At the AIBs, “Stealing from the Sick” was nominated alongside some strong pieces like, Fault Lines – Targeted by a Text by Al Jazeera English, War Crimes for Likes by BBC Arabic Documentaries, Disasters at Sea – Coffin Ship by Exploration Production Inc., Inside Facebook: Secrets of the Social Network by Firecrest Films for Channel 4, The Atom Araullo Specials Babies4sale – Philippines by GMA Network Inc., and Wie is Schild & Vrienden echt? (Who are the Real Shield & Friends?) by VRT NWS.

That a Ugandan story is nominated among these is a milestone, that it wins is a major landmark for Ugandan TV at large, let alone the Investigative desk at NBS Television, a station that is known as Uganda’s leading TV station.

In the story, Serwanjja exposed the plight of Ugandan malaria patients who continue to suffer because of lack of access to drugs, with some even losing their lives, at the hands of government officials who steal and sell the drugs meant to be given out for.

But this is only one story. Some of the other pieces on #NBSInvestigates that moved the nation have also included Inside the Makerere University Sex-for-Marks Scandal by Raymond Mujuni, The Gang Terrorizing Kampala(Kifeesi) by Solomon Serwanjja, Girls in Risky Business by Canary Mugume, among others.

With the major wins by a man who is widely regarded as the one that started the investigative journalism at the Lower-Kololo-based station, I suspect coming investigations will be carried in even higher regard going forward… Maybe the next few pieces’ adverts should now start with, “From the producers of the major award-winning Stealing of the Sick…”

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