(Xinhua) -- There is need to rethink
new roles of media practitioners and media business viability in
light of freely available content to media audiences, experts
This was among the key message at the
opening of three-day media conference in Kigali, Rwanda’s
capital. The University of Rwanda in collaboration with the Fojo
Media Institute of Sweden is hosting the 7th edition of the
annual East African Communication Association (EACA) conference
from Aug. 25 to 27.
It is held under the theme "The economics of media business
in the 21st Century."
The overall aim of the conference is to discuss media and
communication developments, challenges and models in the digital
age especially in an increasingly market-oriented environment,
according to organizers.
It has attracted over 100 delegates from East Africa and
For media business to remain viable in the digital era,
according to Tawana Kupe, an associate professor of media
studies at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa,
it requires constant engagement with society, connecting better
with target audiences while seeking public subsidy.
"If media are market-driven, they will not necessarily make a
profit," he said at the opening.
"We have to talk about the real challenges of society today
when we talk about the economics of media business in the 21st
The chief executive officer of the Rwanda Governance Board (RGB),
Anastase Shyaka, said there is need for media innovation in
order to remain in business.
"The format and method of delivery of news ought to change in
line with the changing tastes and lifestyles of media
consumers," he said.
Anette Novak, vice president of Fojo Media Institute Board of
Directors and CEO of Interactive Institute Swedish ICT, said
social media should be used as an opportunity for professional
According to experts, ways need to be devised to prepare the
content creators to align themselves with new media demands as
well as leveraging on the technologies to keep the businesses
Participants will discuss media industry readiness, threats
and opportunities for the digital age, capacity building
imperatives for the new age, as well as cases of successful
media business models, according to a concept statement released
ahead of the conference.
Over 100 research papers are expected to be presented by
delegates drawn locally, regionally and internationally.
The East African Communication Association was established in
2011 and mainly draws its membership of journalism and
communication scholars and researchers from the EAC region, with
open membership and collaboration from other international
scholars and experts.