The Nigerian Guild of Editors is raising awareness of the dire state of the media, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Editors are seeking urgent Federal Government’s intervention to not only help with the livelihood of journalists but, also to ensure continued existence and operations of the various media houses — print, electronic and new media.
As mentioned in several reports across key media platforms (This Day, Guardian, Vanguard and The Nation amongst others), The Guild emphasised on the need for financial intervention from the Federal Government on the grounds that media services are regarded as “essential services” and deserve to be treated like others that play key roles on the frontline of the fight against COVID-19.
In the urgent appeal to the Federal Government, the Guild is requesting an injection of funds into the country’s media industry to save it from collapse and “ensure continued existence and operations of the various media houses, be they print, electronic or new media.”
“There is an urgent and very compelling need for Nigerian government intervention to save the media from total collapse. The Guild specifically recommends the injection of funds by the Federal Government, not only to help keep media jobs but also to ensure continued existence and operations of the various media houses, be they print, electronic or new media.”
A number of media businesses have already begun to downsize as over 15 journalists have left The Punch with about five photojournalists from The Nation placed on compulsory leave.
The media’s cry for help corroborates BHM’s recently conducted research on the state of the Nigerian Media Industry. The online survey which was sent out to over 200 respondents between April 22 and May 1, 2020, showed that many journalists are on the brink of suffering as a result of the pandemic and need help:
- Even though 82.7% of them are fully employed and 96.2% of them are busy and working, only 45.2% of them are earning a full salary.
- With 84.6% of them being the main earners in their households:
- 86.5% have children and 83.3% of them have other dependants
- 45.2% of them are servicing loans
- 57.8% have lost more than 40% of their monthly income
- 88.5% of the respondents, however, believe the Government can do more to help. Even beyond the pandemic, there needs to be a sustainable intervention to support them to make sure they can continue doing their job professionally.
- Although the respondents acknowledge the Government’s efforts, they do not fully understand the measures that have been put in place and how they affect them. Even beyond the pandemic, there needs to be a sustainable intervention to support them to make sure they can continue doing their job professionally.
- In Nigeria, an average journalist earns less than N100,000 per month. Most newspapers owe up to six months’ salaries, and most TV stations pay tokens for wages. Blogger and influencer incomes are terribly threatened. Many journalists have become desperate and on the brink of suffering.
- Advertising revenues have dropped and the pandemic has had a significant impact on the sale of physical copies and limited volumes of digital subscriptions.