Opinion: Media companies must be owned by media practitioners

As the world celebrates World press day, every journalist posted on his or her social media handle which was at his \her disposal wishing his colleagues happy day of their own profession little wonder some posted protest words that Journalism is not a crime as others remained silent as a catholic church on Monday.

In Uganda when you graduate from a journalism school on your graduation day as relatives congratulate you, other intellectuals ponder on the amount of tear gas that awaits you as soon as the press card and jacket touches your body in your new appointment next door. Surely as journalists are harassed, beaten, kidnapped, killed and oppressed the country’s laws loudly speak about what should be done to oppressors but the judge’s whispers the decision and the tormentors go Scott free.

Although eyes are on tormentors of these messengers there is another important aspect that I must allude to today , the owners of media houses are business oriented not media managers this not only creates a gap but a dilemma in managing these messengers who tirelessly work and bring stories home .

The way how media business is conducted it’s as if advertisement is more important than news if so let media organisations publish only adverts one day and catch up with sales. My continuous interaction with journalists indicates that companies barely look at these human resources as an important one, the very reason their payment remains peanuts although their workplaces are horrible.

Media companies respect marketers and advertisers. They give them a big smile and wrinkle their faces when a journalist asks for transport to ferry a story home inexcusable! It should be noted that any press without that stunning headline from a journalist to attract an audience then the advertisers will not be attracted either.

As journalists practice ethical journalism by remaining true to their audience and factual then the very audience follow that trust and advertise therefore as media owners avail big smiles to the audience they should equally turn the smiling faces to the messenger who attracts that audience.

Journalism would be a dream profession of every young student if the owners were not the detractors who by intention decline to appreciate the creators of that mighty profession and rather appreciate those who are attracted by the creation (adverts).

It’s there for my thinking that media companies should not only be managed by professional journalists but should also be owned by former freelancers, by former press jacket people, by people who would wake up every day and pitch stories to editors by people who would trek in bid to file a story, by people who once beaten deadlines by individuals who had press tags around their necks someday. Such people can easily appreciate the importance of this Journalist than how many adverts and copies sold by the boss.

Mr Wilson Kutamba is a journalist with Daily Monitor Newspaper

kutambawilsons@gmail.com

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