COVID-19 JOB LOSS: JOURNALISM TAKES ANOTHER BLOW AS MEDIA HOUSES LAY OFF WORKERS, SLASH SALARIES
Journalism across the world is threatened, this time not by the Government, or Artificial Intelligence, but by the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic as hundreds of media houses around the world are either forced to close down or downsize.
According to Platforms Africa, thousands of journalists and people in the media have been forced into the unemployment market in the last 24 hours, with media houses citing COVID-19 as the cause.
As the popularity of digital news platforms increased, print media houses had been struggling to break even. With the economic hardship of the Coronavirus, a lot of newspaper media houses have been forced to close down fully.
The New York Times recently estimated that the pandemic had left some 36,000 news workers with reduced salaries or, in some cases, jobless.
Punch Nigeria Limited, Publisher of Punch Newspaper, has relieved more than 100 staff of their duties.
It was gathered that this decision is as a result of the negative impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic which reduced the inflow of daily adverts to the media agency.
The media agency had recently suspended its sports publications, ‘Punch Sports Extra’ due to the effect of the dreadful COVID-19 disease on sporting activities worldwide, handed affected staff members their sack letters on Friday, May 29.
The advert department was said to have been the most affected with over 20 staff laid off.
A huge chunk of staff in The Nation has also been asked to go on three months compulsory leave to be placed on a 20% salary until the leave expires.
Those retained will take home half of their salaries and allowances at the end of the month.
Radio stations are not left out as On-Air Personalities in Nigeria Info, Cool, and Wazobia has been asked to go on compulsory leave until further notice without pay.
The hit on the fourth estate of the realm poses a risk to the countries. “From studies, we know that corruption increases and local, regional, and national politicians get away with more. It’s not a fantasy to say that journalism holds power to account," Emily Bell, founding director of the Tow Center for Digital Journalism, told Variety.