In Uganda, a number of hip-hop-artists-turned-journalists are putting a rhythmic spin on the news with their increasingly popular NewzBeat program.
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With a number of traditional journalists being arrested and targeted for speaking out about government corruption, delivering the news to the people in the East African country — where President Yoweri Museveni has been in power since 1986 — can be dangerous.
For example, journalist William Ntege was jailed for two months and charged with criminal trespass and “being a common nuisance” to Parliament, after he padlocked himself to a bar to demonstrate about the police brutality of journalists.
And CBS radio correspondent Ronald Ssembuusi was also recently convicted of criminal defamation for his broadcasts and sentenced to serve one year in jail or pay 1 million shillings ($400).
With many journalists afraid to do their jobs — as well as many youth being detached from the daily news and events — rappers Baker Kadingidi (pictured right) and Sharon Bwogi (pictured) decided to create weekly news program NewzBeat, where they rap about local, national, and international news and events in both Luganda and English.
Of their program, Bwogi explains, “We are rappers already. Being that through our music we spread the message…we wanted to [cover news that] was educative, entertaining, political. [And] being that we are rappers, we decided to make it a rap kind of format.”
Watch NewzBeat for yourself here: