The impact of media ownership on content: a comparative study of the Daily Monitor and the New Vision newspapers.
Media ownership has remained a thought-provoking aspect in understanding newspaper content reporting and endorsement in newsrooms. Various studies show that ownership influences have a big bearing on what finds space on newspaper pages. The said influence takes various forms including direct censorship and intimidation of editorial staff. A further bisection shows that this is a derivative of deeply entrenched owners’ business, financial and sometimes political interests. Owners interests interlink with those of advertisers and government (which is the biggest advertiser) thereby creating propulsions into market-driven but government-controlled journalism. It emerges that the above trend in Uganda is leading to a decline in the true values of journalism—the craft of writing, the vigor in investigating injustice, the sense of fairness and equality and the impulse to what is right and wrong. The researcher employs the qualitative research approach which allows for a more focused analysis of experience and perception, is reflective, aptly passes through every stage of the project and does not artificially limit observation to one or a few aspects or components. Under the qualitative approach is a comparative design which resulted in rich and holistic accounts of the phenomenon studied. Through this approach, insights are offered and meanings illuminated to expand readers’ experiences. Using The New Vision and Daily Monitor as a case study, the main research element of ownership influence on content is taken together with other factors like the media legal regime effect, government’s administrative and informal controls, reporter and editor bias, character of personalities managing media outlets, media concentration tendencies, media and democracy and culture, media content and ‘readermanship.’ From the findings, there is an overwhelming view that the press in Uganda is publishing much less than what it knows, less than what it ought to publish to advance the public sphere, democracy and good governance and that at the centre of this is owners’ interests.