Site Loader

Female journalists to employers; “Pay me for my work”

Ms Olivia Atim

By Felista Auma

COVID-19 has greatly affected journalists and the media industry at large across the globe. A number of media professionals were laid off with others exiting their jobs on free will since their media houses could not pay their salaries because of the negative effect of the pandemic on revenue generation. 

Among the journalists who quit their jobs during the pandemic is Ms. Oliver Atim who said she could not bear the situation after staying for several months without receiving her monthly salary.

“By the time of lock down, things became so hard. For people who are staying home and don’t have so much responsibility, it would be easy. But now you are working for someone, you wake up every day to go to work. People see you from home and think you have money; how can you complain that you are broke? You work from Monday to Monday yet you don’t have a penny, your pocket is empty so, I felt it was better to come out and declare it to the public that I’m officially broke,” Atim narrates.

Ms. Atim recalls vividly the day and hour she quit the job without official resignation and the fears she had on where to go and start from with no money.

 “I can remember the day I left work. I didn’t resign officially. I didn’t even know where I was going but I knew from deep inside that I was totally done with the work. I didn’t know the direction I was to take but I told myself it’s better I go and stay home. I go to work, you are not paying me but putting pressure on me. I don’t have to miss work, but you are not bothered whether I have eaten or not,” she laments.

She has spent more than three months without formal employment. She is trying to cope up with being jobless.

“I went back home but the first week was hard. I could wake up in the morning and stay in bed until around 10am. It was so hard and most people were not agreeing with me, not even my mum. She wasn’t in support of me leaving work but with time, she realized that was the best option for that moment,” Ms Atim adds.

Ms. Atim says even before the outbreak of the pandemic, different media houses were already exploiting their employees in various ways with no or little payment but COVID-19 worsened the situation. She therefore, calls upon responsible bodies to fight for the rights of the exploited journalists.

“Before COVID, those things used to happen. You could work for months without being paid. Maybe I landed in the wrong hands but what I have realized is that some media houses like exploiting their workers. You work for hours, sacrifice all your best, provide your own transport, wake up every day, go to work. I don’t even have time for myself but the media houses are not paying you. Even if I’m not having time for myself, it would be good if I am at least earning something. I don’t know if there is anybody out there that can fight for the rights of journalists because these journalists are really being violated but they cannot speak out because they are afraid of losing their jobs,” Ms Atim explains. 

Today, Ms. Atim is operating a Rolex business (a mix of chapati and fried eggs) to sustain herself and the family as she looks for better opportunities in and outside the media industry. She hopes to get back to the media again since that is where her passion lies not to lose her skills but venture into multimedia journalism. 

Post Author: admin

We empower. Change Narratives. Sustain
Female Journalists Forum – Uganda (FEMJOF-UGANDA) is a not-for-profit Community Based Organisation run by a group of female journalists in Gulu, Northern Uganda. We train, mentor, coach and counsel female journalists to change the narratives and become tomorrow’s great journalism leaders.

The idea to have a female media organization was established in 2019 when a group of about ten female journalists based in Gulu met and realized the shrinking number of female field journalists and the need to encourage female journalism students to join the newsroom with a purpose.

This dream to have a network and support system of female journalists based in Gulu was realized in 2021 when the organization was officially registered to not only bring together female journalists but advocate for a better working environment for female journalists, TRAIN , mentor, coach and counsel those that need a hand to reach their destiny.

In this, we envisaged better representation of women and female journalists in the media through a broad based approach to storytelling hence changing the traditional narratives of what and who a female journalist is. Currently, we have more than twenty members at different media houses and our mentorship programme at journalism institutions of learning is a step towards increasing this number in the newsrooms.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *