ACME ED Dr. Peter G. Mwesige

The African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) has announced that it has commenced a national project that will examine the state of the news media in Uganda.

Based on two national surveys — one of practicing journalists across all media, and the second of newsroom managers — the research project will examine shifts in the media landscape over the past decade or so and their impact on the practice of journalism in the country.

These shifts include an almost tenfold growth in internet usage, driven by mobile broadband subscriptions, and broadcast digital migration, which was achieved in 2015.

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These technological developments have transformed the news media business, operational structures, and the practice of journalism. Contemporaneously, the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have forced media companies to cut wages, lay off workers, and close some business segments.

Supported by the European Union Delegation to Uganda, the project will focus on journalists’ demographics, skills, their perceptions on roles, ethics, and influences, as well as working conditions, among others.

It will reach close to 400 journalists from 48 media houses selected from all parts of the country. The last such national survey of Ugandan journalists was carried out in 2001 and provided “a demographic and attitudinal profile of Ugandan journalists”. This project will build on that, showing how much has changed between 2001 and 2020.

In addition to profiling the Ugandan journalist, they will also map out the Ugandan newsroom, looking at important metrics such as the number of employees in media companies, the proportion of staff vis-à-vis freelance journalists, revenue sources, on-the-job training for reporters, editorial policies, among others.

“The study is in line with our strategic aims of supporting journalistic excellence, promoting an enabling media environment and improving media literacy,” said Dr Peter G. Mwesige, ACME’s executive Director. “We hope it will stimulate public debate on the state of journalism and the media in Uganda at this critical time.”

African Centre for Media Excellence is a Kampala-based independent, non-profit professional organisation committed to promoting excellence in journalism and communication in Africa.