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Leveraging on new media to stop emblem misuse

The Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) in partnership with NTV Uganda is running a six months digital campaign aimed at sensitizing the public on the emblem usage. The distinctive emblem with a red cross emblazoned against a white background is the original symbol declared at the 1864 Geneva Convention to make and protect individuals and objects that provide humanitarian aid in armed conflict zones.

The Geneva Convention prohibits the use of the Red Cross emblem by any organization, individual, or corporation. The conventions even prohibit imitation or perfidy. In Uganda, Section 3 of the Red Cross Act gives exclusive use of the Red Cross as a sign to Uganda Red Cross Society.

The Penal Code further criminalizes the abuse of the Red Cross Emblem by any other organization (Section 3 of the Red Cross Act, and section 170 of the Penal Code of Uganda, Chapter 120 of the Laws of Uganda).

However, there are many ambulances, clinics, pharmacies, individuals selling first aid kits, and medical equipment, among others abusing the emblem through imitation and usurpation. This creates conflict and misrepresentation thus putting in peril all our activities.

Irene Nakasiita, the Director Communications, Resource Mobilization and Strategic Partnerships at the Uganda Red Cross Society, says whilst this challenge can be addressed through a combination of different communication and PR tactics, leveraging on digital campaign has proved to be the best approach.

Some of the messages posted by NTV Uganda on their social media platforms.

“This approach is cost effective and we are using it to disseminate the Red Cross Principles, the Red Cross Act / Law, and all connotations around the Emblem that the public needs to know,” she says. She adds that; “We decided to leverage on NTV’s online presence to push our agenda. The station has close to seven million followers on all its social media platforms and every week, seven posts are shared,” she adds. The Uganda Red Cross desires to protect the emblem and maintain authority as the sole user to help those who are most vulnerable in situations of humanitarian catastrophe.

URCS Contacts

Plot 551/555 Rubaga Road.
P.O. Box 494, Kampala Uganda.
Tel:     (256) 414 258701
Tel:     (256) 414 258702
Email: sgurcs@redcrossug.org


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