By Philip Buda Ladu
A bike looks like a very small thing to some people, but to me personally, I know what it means because it helps me move distances, says Denis Logonyi Muye.
Denis Logonyi Muye, who was all smiling with expressions of appreciation and new hope, received a brand-new Bajaj bike from the National Press Club (NPC) and partners.
The new bike replaces Logonyi’s old bajaj, which got lost during a chaotic church demolition exercise by authorities guarded by security and later cleansed by gunfire.
On July 4, 2023, Mr. Logonyi, who works with the Juba-based Classic FM, was on a mission to report on the forceful church demolition near the premises of the national parliament.
But, shortly after reaching the scene of the incident, hell broke loose when a rain of bullets filled the atmosphere. Logonyi had to flee for his life as soon as the journalistic principle that “no story is worth your life” clicked into his mind.
Unfortunately, opportunists walked away with his only better means of mobility during the confusion.
It was only shortly after the scuffle had subsided that Logonyi came to find his bike out of sight.
However, with the help of media partners, his mobility crisis was fixed yesterday.
NPC’s Executive Director, Ochaya James, officially handed over the brand-new bike to Logonyi in the presence of NPC staff, media colleagues, and partners yesterday.
“On behalf of NPC, we want to say we have officially handed over the new motorcycle to our colleague Denis. So this is a solidarity stand that NPC always takes with journalists,” Ochaya said.
However, the great honour goes to Mary Ajith, the Director of the Catholic Radio Network (CRN), and a veteran journalist who first came up with the suggestion to compensate Logonyi for the loss.
Mr. Ochaya stated that when Logonyi posted about his bike loss on social media as NPC, they at first did not take it very seriously because it is something that is outside our mandate.
But he said when they received Mary’s suggestion, NPC had to sit down and decide to engage its partners, who responded positively.
“As NPC, it is part of our mandate to see that we promote a conducive working environment for our journalists, and of course, the aspect of mobility is one of the priorities that will ease access to information for our citizens. We took it up and then reached out to our partners, and indeed, we thanked God that they responded positively,” he said.
Following the success story, Ochaya also opened up further to reveal that it is not the first time the NPC has responded to journalists’ issues.
“In 2021, NPC responded by supporting one of the journalists who was actually detained in the prison for some other issues. We had to stand with him in solidarity to see how best we could bail him out, and indeed we did”.
Denis Logonyi setting off on a ride with a colleague on the brand-new bike shortly the handover (Photo: Buda Ladu)
Meanwhile, with a smile planted all over his face, Mr. Logonyi said “Today is an important day, a day that journalists can say is our day”.
Mr. Logonyi expressed that with the new bike, he can now reach press conferences in other faraway places as quickly as he used to.
Logonyi gave a vote of thanks to his fellow journalists who pitied him during the loss of his old bike and took to their social media handles to express their empathy and spread the unfortunate incident with the hope of tracing its way about.
“When I posted about this loss of the other bike, many of my colleagues were concerned and really felt bad about the incident,” he recounted the ordeals.
“They didn’t feel out of the blue because, if I can say out of ten (journalists), seven had been beneficiaries of that motorcycle.” When I go out to the field, at least when I come back, I come back with someone. We ended in a moment where my fellow colleagues will ask me where our bike is,” he narrated.
Mr. Logonyi appreciated Mary Ajith, the initiator of the idea to replace the lost bike, and also commended NPC for ensuring that they mobilized the resources to buy the bike.
For her part, Mary Ajith said that as a veteran who has been in the field for a long time and has also lost gadgets, she pitied Logonyi, saying she knows how it feels to lose gadgets in the field.
She stressed that when people take comradeship in the media for granted, she feels bad.
“Personally, I know the challenges that each and every journalist faces because I have lost gadgets in the field, and I know how it feels to lose something, and it can actually affect your journalistic work,” she noted.
Mary hinted that when we talk about the safety and protection of journalists, it is not only the journalist in person; it also means protecting their belongings and the gadgets they use in the field.
“And that’s why when Denis lost his bike and people were making memes online, I felt bad for him because it can cause trauma. The fact that he has no bike to reach where he used to reach for news coverage is not something small,” she consoled.
“So, I think it is high time that as media institutions we take the issue of protecting journalists beyond their personal protection and safety but also to the gadget that they used for collecting the news,” Mary stressed.