The sustainability and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on media houses in Uganda and Ethiopia

By Gerald Walulya and Mulatu Alemayehu Moges

Abstract. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented economic challenges globally across various sectors, including the media. The economic effects of the pandemic, particularly, have hit the advertising sector, which is the lifeblood of media houses. Despite the raging economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on the media, few studies have yet been conducted in the East African region, particularly in Uganda and Ethiopia, to assess how media organizations have been affected and what measures they have put in place to mitigate these challenges. This chapter investigates and discusses the key economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the operation of media houses and the mechanisms they have put in place to counter these economic challenges. The study used a qualitative approach. The two researchers carried out interviews with CEOs and managers of 12 leading media houses in Uganda and Ethiopia. The data collected through interviews were transcribed and presented thematically. This study indicates that the media in the two countries have faced serious economic challenges, including loss of advertisement and a decline in newspaper sales, leading to salary cuts, loss of jobs, and closure of some media houses.

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