Hitting back at press censorship, Newz Beat uses music to cover controversial topics and engage younger audiences. The Ugandan anchors and producers of the show call themselves “rap-orters” and broadcast – with “rhyme and reason” – all of the news that is deemed unfit by Uganda’s state news service. The show is presented by Sharon Bwogi, Uganda’s “queen of hip hop” known as Lady Slyke Daniel Kisekka, dubbed the “Survivor” and teenage rapper Zoe Kabuye, or MC Loy. It aims to: “promote diversity and visibility for marginalised groups” and “push the boundaries of press limitations” in Uganda. NewzBeat is screened in both English and the local language Luganda on NTV, Uganda’s most popular channel” is shown every Saturday before the station’s traditional news bulletins. It first aired in 2014, and has since gained a large following as well as international attention from the media.
Newz Beat usually features four local, regional and international stories. Nothing is off limits. The program has covered stories on governance, corruption, tolerance, and reproductive rights. Newz Beat has already expand across East Africa – a mini-season in Swahili recently aired in the lead-up to the latest elections in Tanzania.
Newz Beat received three International Telly Awards – Silver Telly 2016 in the Social Responsibility category, Bronze Telly 2016 and 2015 in the Information category.