Written by CHIMP REPORTS
A yet to be revealed number of journalists are set to lose their jobs in the coming days at two leading media houses in the country.
At the Nation Media Group Uganda, several employees will be laid off by the end of the month, over what the company leadership described as a “very difficult time” orchestrated by the Covid19 economic impact.
Over at Uganda Radio Network (URN), the country’s oldest web-based news agency, the situation is grimmer as they are set to shut down operations because of lack of funding.
Tony Glencross, the Nation Media Group Uganda Managing Director announced the terrible news on Thursday, March 25th in an internal communique.
Nation Media Group is the parent company of Ugandan media houses Daily Monitor, NTV Uganda, Spark Tv, Kfm, Ddembe Fm and Ennyanda Magazine.
Mr Glencross said the company will be shedding off a number of employees starting Wednesday next week, in a restructuring measure hoped to help them cope with the devastating impact of Covid19 that “severely impacted” the company.
“During this difficult period, management has implemented several cost-saving interventions to enable business continuity, ensure the sustenance of livelihoods of staff and their dependents and continue delivering services to our customers,” he said.
“However, in spite of these initiatives, the business has continued to bear the brunt of the pandemic. Further, this new reality necessitates the re-engineering of NMGU in order to accelerate our digital transformation.”
“On this journey, we intend to radically change our business model for all our media platforms from traditional advertising to content-driven revenue with the objective of establishing leadership in the mobile/digital landscape in Uganda while exploring new revenue streams in the experiential and technology space.”
In doing so, he said the company “will require re-tooling and resourcing within the NMGU operation with relevant skill sets critical for success in the new business environment.”
“Regrettably, it will also result in a reduction of our workforce effective Wednesday, March 31. 2021. This is an extremely difficult decision especially in view of the prevailing circumstances and the impact that it will have on thou affected and their families.”
The laid off workers, he said will be provided with counselling and medical insurance up to June this year.
Meanwhile, Uganda Radio Network has announced it will be ceasing operations starting the month of April.
The agency, which has been in operational since 2005 hit a dead end after government suspended the operations of the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF), their main funders.
In an internal memo, the workers were told that the contract with DGF ends this month, and with the latter’s operations halted and licence cancelled by Government, there is no hope for funding to keep operations running.
“Therefore, even if there was a possibility of an extension of our contract with them, the current situation closed that path and left us no options.“Consequently, starting April 2021, I regret to inform you that there will be no funding for salary and operating funds,” the memo reads.
“Management is trying hard to work out other options to keep the organization open but there is currently no direct fund to sustain operations and bridge the gap left by DGF. We therefore ask you for your understanding in what obviously is going to be a trying moment for all of us.”