Media: Shettima decries overdependence on government for income

… Makes case for multiple streams of revenue

By Taoheed Mohammed

The Director of MacArthur Foundation, Africa Office in Nigeria, Mr. Kole Shettima, has cautioned media proprietors and managers of various newsrooms on the dangers that trail over-dependence on a single source of income, especially from the government.

Shettima made this known recently while speaking with the leaders of 26 media houses in the country at an onboarding summit of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), under its Collaborative Media Engagement for Development Inclusivity and Accountability project.

Noting that an independent media is the oxygen of Nigerian democracy, he stressed that the industry should put a strong barricade to prevent the media from being overpowered and controlled by the ruling elites.

In his words: “If we do not have an independent media that holds the government accountable, democracy will collapse. The media was the vehicle that supported pro-democratic movement organisations in the country. The media is the oxygen of our democracy, and we need it for our democracy to thrive.”

I-79 Media Consults reports that Shettima urged the participants to have multiple streams of income via subscriptions, advertisements, and memberships, saying “it is the way to enable their sustainability and freedom being the sole defender of the people’s rights.”

He noted that: “If you want to have an independent editorial, you must also have independent sources of income. If you depend on an advertisement from the government, then know you are doomed because all they need do is stop sending their advertisement to your media organisation.

“All the major newspapers we are talking about have collapsed because the revenue system has changed, and the COVID-19 has dramatically changed everybody’s life.

“New York Times, The Guardian, and others, as we may well know, are the ones that have taken the lead in that direction. They do not have to worry about where funds will come from because their subscribers and donors are more than enough in terms of the revenue needed”, he added.


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