The Covid-19 crisis has proved in EAST Africa that the public interest media is more crucial than ever for explaining our complex world, fact-checking information, and holding the powerful to account. New technologies have brought immense possibilities for media to publish stories and engage with audiences. At the same time, the media faces existential challenges. Journalism urgently requires new and fresh ideas to deal with the myriad problems and opportunities to which there are no simple answers.
The EAST Festival is a two and a half day hybrid conference to reinvent storytelling and journalism in East Africa. It will bring together the brightest minds on media innovation and media viability from the three East African countries: Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya. A broad range of stakeholders – academics, innovators, media managers and practitioners, bloggers, donors, and entrepreneurs – will share their expertise and debate on topics like new ways of storytelling, journalism education, audience development, business models, and the newsroom of the future. It will also present key results of an exciting one-of-a-kind research project on Media Viability in East Africa.
The event offers a unique festival experience with a very diverse program of inspirational talks, interactive workshops and meetings, exhibitions, and performances about everything relating to media innovation in East Africa. The EAST Festival is proudly hosted by the Media Futures East Africa Project (Aga Khan University and DW Akademie) in partnership with Uganda’s Media Challenge Initiative.
That’s why I think today is such a great space for us to sit back and reflect on the questions that could help us shape the kind of journalism that we want to see in our local and global community.
The festival aims to ask how journalism can sustain productive public conversations, nurture responsible civic responsibilities and help the citizens address challenges they face and seize opportunities.
The report specifically analysed eight major variables 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.
Kenya has a diverse, vibrant media system with a high internet penetration rate, literate society and fairly well-trained journalists. However, significant challenges to long-term viability remain. This report presents findings on the Kenyan media landscape along the five Media Viability indicators by DW Akademie.
Politics continues to play a major role in Tanzania’s diverse and vibrant media landscape. There have been increased incidences of the government banning, suspending or fining news outlets broadcasting content deemed critical of the government.
Uganda has diverse legacy media and a growing broadcast and online media space. This report, analysing the Ugandan media landscape along the five Media Viability indicators of DW Akademie, outlines the structural and societal conditions that have created an unfavourable media viability trend in the last years.