African Research /MIRH/ 15 November 2022
By Media Futures East Africa Project (Aga Khan University)
A recent report provides an analysis of the news media landscape and operating environment in three East African countries. The Media Futures East Africa Project, jointly implemented by the Aga Khan University’s Graduate School of Media and Communications and DW Akademie, set out to investigate the state of innovation and media viability in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
The research was conducted in two phases. The first phase studied the ecosystem of East African news media organisations and the factors that were explored were: political, economic, social, technological and community environment. The second phase of the research examined eight major factors which include: newsroom structure and resources, media ownership and business models, organisational capacity, innovation culture, journalism culture, financial trends and results, content quality and Covid-19.
The data was gathered via an in-depth survey of media managers and journalists from 437 media houses in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania from 2020 to 2021.
Despite Kenya having a diverse, vibrant media system with a high internet penetration rate, a literate society, and fairly well-trained journalists, there are significant challenges to long-term viability. The biggest obstacles facing Kenya’s news media organisations are increasing pressure from the private sector and government, changing audience consumption habits, and the need for new reader revenue models.
While Uganda has a diverse media and growing broadcast and online media space, there are still obstacles to producing high-quality journalism from external factors such as political, economic, and social conditions in the near term.
Even though Tanzania has a diverse and vibrant media landscape, the government continues to restrict media organisations and journalists (who are critical of the government) through bans and suspensions. The findings revealed that the media capture and the socioeconomic/political conditions in Tanzania influence media content, journalistic quality, and robust public engagement.
Click here to read the full report.