Journalists need to reinvent themselves in digital era – Media Focus Africa

The C.E.O Media Focus on Africa Uganda Ms Jan Ajwang has said there is need for media reinvent itself and reclaim its past glory in these social media times where growing fake news and disinformation have threatened the craft.

“We are not going to do things as we did them before, we need to be creative, we are in unique times which call for unique solutions to deal with the problems arising from fake news. The period is about how we are going to do things better by reinventing ourselves” she said.

Ms Ajwang who made the remarks during the celebration of the Uganda media week 2020 themed “Media viability in times of crisis” held in kampala said there is need for media houses to put their individual ties aside and collaborate for better content delivery.

Dr Emilly Maractho the head of journalism department at Uganda Christian University Mukono noted that commercialisation of media has threatened the viability of mainstream media when it comes to professionalism since more attention is being paid to profitability than service delivery.

Dr Emilly Maractho : photo Courtesy

“We must learn to innovate and evolve, because our friends in the media will not pay attention to the academia it affects the evolvement. People who owned media houses were a threat to media freedom and operations which has seen a convergence in the new digital globalization era. Covid 19 has helped us innovate in the way journalist cover news from access to sources and how the audience receives the information” she said.

Ms Eva Georgia a consultant with DW Akademie said there is need for media houses to rethink and restrategise their current positions to be enable them increase their online audience while keeping in mind the duty of offering services to clients.

A section of the participants who attended the two day training in Kampala. Photo/ Courtesy

“Multi tasking and versatility are essential for media to operate and survive in this era, there is need for concern on the demoralisation, long hours, low pay, fatigue and mental health of journalists well being as media houses renovate and restructure themselves” she noted.

Mr Edrine Wanyama  a legal officer at Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA) said although radio remains the most penetrating medium in journalism, the internet still plays a key role as far as elections reporting is concerned.

“The  use of scientific campaigns may not be as favorable as it was in the 2016 elections to Ugandan’s who could access social media by then since it limits the active participation of citizens in the electoral process” he said.

L-R. NBS Tv’s Canary Mugume and CIPESA’s Edrine Wanyama that were part of the panelists headed by KFM’s Ben Mwine during the training in kampala. Photo/ Courtesy.

Wanyama explained that there will be more arrests, persecution, arrests and confiscation of journalist’s equipment which media houses need to be prepared for during the forthcoming elections.

“We envisage the use of Robocop’s to call voters than it was in the past, 2016 saw the threat on the electoral process when social media and mobile money were blocked by the regulator Uganda Communications Commission (UCC). We have fears that this could happen soon this year or early next year” he said.

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