KAMPALA – Media houses in Uganda have been hit hard by the lockdown over coronavirus, with many suspending operations while others have scaled down work and remained online.
While television and radio stations can persist and remain on air, the situation is different for the print media, with many newspapers struggling to remain afloat.
One of those greatly affected is the Observer newspaper, which has suspended printing operations.
“The Observer Media Ltd regrets to announce closure of our offices & suspension of our printing operations until further notice. We have been curtailed by the ongoing coronavirus preventive measures. However, our online platforms will continue operating & keeping you updated,” the company posted on its social media pages on Tuesday, March 31.
“We regret any inconvenience this may cause to all our advertisers, vendors, readers, suppliers and service providers as well as staff,” the company added.
The newspaper was founded in 2004 and celebrated 10 years of existence in March 2014.
Vision Group headed by Robert Kabushenga has also suspended publication of four weekly newspapers.
The publications affected by this COVID-induced decision are Kampala Sun (a weekly tabloid), Etop (for Teso sub-region), Rupiny (for the Luo region) and Orumuri (for the Runyakitara-speaking regions of Western Uganda.
At Nation Media Group, the publishers of Daily Monitor, the newspaper will remain in publication but with scaled-down operations.
According to the General Manager Editorial at Nation Media Group Uganda, Mr Daniel Kalinaki, they will remain operating as they monitor the situation.
“We shall continue to print a scaled-down paper as we continue to monitor the situation and drive ePaper subscriptions. Advertising should plan a 36-page dummy and share quickly so we can adjust the editorial content accordingly,” Mr Kalinaki said in an email sent to staff on Tuesday, March 31.
“TV operations will continue with a few programming changes to be communicated by respective HoDs. Essentially, we shall consider snowballing programming based on entertainment events or sports shows that aren’t being held, to give priority to news,” he added.
“We need to reduce the number of people coming into work. Anyone who can work remotely should do so. If there are still technical challenges please speak to IT to have them fixed or escalate them to your respective HoD. For those required to come into the office, we are working on arrangements to ensure safety and convenient transport. Accommodation is being sought for the printers (who don’t have media IDs and could face restrictions at roadblocks); journalists with press ID can use those in the interim. We will have an update on car stickers as the day goes by.”