Type to search

Newspaper mayhem!


Newspaper mayhem!



KADOMA – The local media industry is in a tailspin, and there are fears that many newspapers and radio stations will collapse by September this year as revenue from advertising continues to dry up.
The crisis is exacerbated by the over-licencing of players, which has seen too many media companies chasing after a small advertising cake, a workshop of experts organised by the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) heard in Kadoma this week.
Delegates called on Government and stakeholders to intervene and save media companies from shutting down as they play a critical constitutional role in promoting development, democracy, transparency and ensuring the enjoyment of the right to information.
The workshop heard that the media industry has lost its lustre to the extent that students are shunning journalism and media courses at local universities.
The Advertising Media Association (ADMA), an association of media houses, the Zimbabwe Association of Accredited Practitioners in Advertising (ZAAPA) and the Marketers Association of Zimbabwe (MAZ) were expected to hold an important meeting today. One of the issues on the agenda is the unfolding crisis.
“The situation is scary for those who have invested in the media industry,” remarked veteran journalist and former Alpha Media Holdings Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Vincent Kahiya.
The workshop heard that advertising volumes dropped 75% over the last three years. This created a revenue crisis for newspapers, radio and television stations countrywide. Companies have salary backlogs, yet there is no hope of financial improvement.
The biggest advertiser, some said, has become the Government instead of the private sector.
The workshop was attended by the Chief Director of the Ministry of Information and Publicity, Jonathan Gandari, ZMC chairperson Professor Ruby Magosvongwe and commissioners, ZMC managers, Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) CEO Engineer Tendai Kapumha, senior media studies lecturers, senior journalists including The Mirror consultant Matthew Takaona and Chris Chinaka and National Police Spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi.
An expert attributed reduced advertising to changed consumer behaviour and the generally poor state of the economy. Although many countries face similar challenges, Zimbabwe’s situation is dire, said an expert.
“I really feel sorry for those who invested in the media because the situation is bleak,” said an expert.
Delegates said that although there is a desire to liberalise the media, there are now too many players, and the advertising cake cannot go around. They said there was a need to save those already in the industry by not bringing in too many players.
It was noted that the concentration of radio stations in Harare, for example, has reached a pitch. There are 37 licensed radio stations, and they include national, campus, community and local.
ZMC officials told the workshop that there are 114 registered newspapers and magazines in the country, although a lot of them are not publishing.
“In many media companies, workers’ salaries are no longer regular. Payments are only when there are adverts. Some community newspapers have reduced advert prices to as little as US$20 a page when the rate is US$1 000 a page,” said a delegate.
“Media and journalism courses are no longer sustainable because we can no longer get full classes. You get as little as six students enrolling for media studies compared to 200 over the last few years. We need companies to come and sponsor media courses and save them from being closed,” said Professor Nhamoinesu Mhiripiri, a senior lecturer at the Midlands State University.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Enjoy our stories? Please spread the word: