KAMPALA — Like in most parts of the world, coronavirus pandemic has hit the newspaper industry below the belt in Uganda.
To media houses in the country have reduced salaries of journalists while others have sacked both journalists and other support staff.
A sharp decline in advertising revenues, issues of circulation amid lockdown, and consumers saving money to spend on other necessities has brought untold miseries to print journalism.
The cascading effect of low revenues and minimum circulation have been borne by the staff, who are facing cut in their salaries and allowances.
Many journalists have been asked to go on leave and many others have lost jobs since the outbreak of a pandemic.
A little over a week ago, the National Media Group informed its employees that the organization was going for massive restructuring and available information indicates the axe is already swinging.
Charles Odoobo Bichachi, Public Editor, and other long time editors at the paper including Richard Oundo and Patrick Matsiko wa Mucoori have been dropped.
Others include are Justus Katungi the longest serving employee.
Tony Glencross NMG Uganda’s managing director in an email to staff said the Group intends to “radically change our business model for all our media platforms from traditional advertising to content-driven revenue”.
A source said several other editors and other support staff in different departments will be dropped.
“Man, we’re on tenterhook. Things are bad here. Most of my colleagues have been sacked and we are told more members are going to be dropped,” the source said.
Another source said some workers have resorted to witchcraft to save their jobs.
‘I know of a few colleagues here who have turned to “Mama Fiina” to save them against the wave. Things are getting worse everyday. We don’t who is leaving or staying. Mutusabire man,” the source added.
The English-language newspaper the New Vision last year announced pay cuts of up to 60% for some employees.
FULL List of dropped staff
1. Charles Odoobo Bichachi – public editor
2. Oundo Richard – revise editor
3. Japheth Oboku – Opinions Editor
4. Patrick Matsiko wa Muchoori – News editor
5. Mark Kawalya – graphic designer
6. Katungi Justus – circulation manager
7. Lubega Henry – reporter
8. Reina Ojon – business reporter