By Ivan Kimuli Kigozi
Journalism is a very interesting profession, it’s only for those with passion and love for it, that can survive and many media owners have capitalized on this to make money utilizing the Cheap Labour that seem available always, that is why many journalists end up frustrated and die miserably poor.
This explains the exodus of many long serving media professionals who have served for a long time on TV and Radio and with Ugandan standards they look well off, but opted to seek other opportunities in countries like America and other European countries, this says a lot on what is happening in these media houses!
The platform that we get on TV and Radio which make us popular in the Public eye, blinds us from the reality of life and by the time you wake up from this, your name is on the list that is circulating on Social media that you have been laid off.
It is very easy to layoff journalists from their Jobs because majority of them hardly have contracts and they work on the mercy of Business men, who when they feel the business is not doing well the first target will be the newsroom and presenters, because other departments are legally protected.
How did we end up here? It is the mentality that is built in us in the early years of our dear profession, that Journalism is a service not a Job, in a nutshell saying you become a salve from the day you become a Journalist, and this has affected many of us working on the mercy of business men who invest in the profession and in return they waste many talents with poor pay and exploitation.
Uganda’s Television History is born in 1963 one year after Uganda’s independence. However, radio was born in Uganda in 1954 and TV came in nine years after that. Over the years there are few Journalists who have struggled to own media houses like Monitor News Paper after which The Observer was born, Super Fm that is owned by Pastor turned Politician Peter Ssematimba and Suubi Fm which later collapsed. But majority of media houses have been started by Business people who see an opportunity for making Money.
In this era Journalists still work for one thousand shillings per story, no insurance, no protection gears in case of riots etc. few media houses that go beyond this line and this explains the Luganda saying Bakola yaleero, Hand to mouth Journalism.
This explains further the current crisis we are in of Poor pay, manipulation , Over exploitation and so forth. Therefore its high time for Journalists to look beyond reporting stories and strategize on how we can become media entrepreneurs, let us think BIG, we can look for more opportunities and we set up media houses that will value our sweat and this is the day we will start the journey of kicking out, business minded people who care less and mind so much on how much they earn not how much you earn.
What do I mean? Listen as long as media houses are still owned by Businessmen, who look at Journalists like fire wood that prepares their food, journalists will always remain food that end-up on dining tables to be eaten, creating a profession of eaters and the eaten.
But all is not lost, we still have hope and Big dreams for this might profession and Industry, let us work together and Build the Next Generation of Journalists that go beyond reporters, presenters, News anchors, editors, to a Generation of media entrepreneurs owning media Houses that care so much on the welfare and growth of their fellow journalists.
Let us turn the tables.
Let us keep the Hope Alive!.
Ivan Kimuli Kigozi