Vision Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Robert Kabushenga has appealed to the Minister for Information and Communications Technology, Judith Nabakooba to find incentives to keep mainstream journalism relevant especially in favor of the local languages which he said have a wider audience- admitting that traditional print is badly struggling in the online age.
Mr. Kabushenga made the call as he hosted a visiting delegation from ICT Ministry led by Mityana Woman MP and ICT Minister Nabakooba who toured the state of the art printer, newsrooms among other areas.
Kabushenga for the first time admitted that the proliferation of digital media in Uganda has had a profound effect on the newspaper industry, sighting declining revenue and a massive shift of readers.
As individuals turn to digital to receive news sites for free, traditional newspapers struggle to remain competitive and hold onto their traditional readers.
Nabakooba urged the mainstream media to invest in the online channels to remain alive- noting that her ministry is keen on improving citizen engagement online news channels than offline.
To this effect, the importance of digital and Social Media as a tool for communication and why the government must prioritize it as an official means of communicating its agenda and programs was widely discussed.
With declining readership and increasing competition from digital media, the minister advised newspapers to embrace the culture shift and move to online journalism.
For many papers, this means creating an online version of their printed paper that readers will have access to from any location, at all times of the day for them to remain alive.
A new report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) titled; World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development, sources of print media revenues have been changing significantly with the audience turning to online sources which offer quick and credible information.
Today, there are only five newspapers left. Most publishers trying to establish a foothold do not last long enough to celebrate their first anniversary.
Several newspaper owners blame online media for their downfall.