President Museveni has made a case for Uganda’s online media, warning those that who fall short of embracing technology face extinction.
“You can now see that the social media is more used than radios and televisions,” said Museveni on Saturday.
“Very soon, this old media will phase out because people read the news online and they no longer see the need for newspapers,” he emphasised.
The President made the remarks while lecturing soldiers of the Uganda People’s Defense Air Force (UPDAF) to master using and operating their equipment, co-operate in their squads and always train so that they are confident in technology.
Museveni’s endorsement of online media is a big boost to the booming but largely unappreciated sector especially among bureaucrats.
Most government departments are yet to embrace digital media to disseminate information.
Yet, according to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), the internet is becoming a fast trusted reliable and accurate source of information by both children and adults. Through the internet especially news websites, social networking sites like Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, young people now have access to an almost endless supply of information and opportunity for interaction.
There are an estimated 18 Million internet users in Uganda – and this figure includes young users.
Museveni cautions that “When you lag behind in science and technology, you disappear.”
The mobile internet subscriptions stood at 9.8 million while fixed internet subscription grew to 173,600 by the end of June 2018, according to UCC.
The internet penetration now stand 47.4 percent.
ChimpReports’ Managing Editor Giles Muhame said while many businesses are reaping the benefits of social media, decision makers within government departments and agencies are still trying to figure out the best way to approach citizens with the available social tools.
“The President’s remarks in support of new media should be a wakeup call for government departments that are yet to embrace social media and online news platforms,” said Muhame.
“Actually, this is where citizens are, and this is how government can reach and directly connect with them,” he added.
Observers say for this to happen, there needs to be an acceptance that new media channels have changed the way the public communicates.
Some government institutions such as UCC, NWSC, NEMA, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Electoral Commission, ICT Ministry and NSSF – which embraced digital media years ago have seen a considerable growth in brand awareness and public appreciation of their services.