Newspaper vendors in Awka, Anambra state, have urged the federal government to save their business from going extinct and also limit the scope of online media publications.
Emeka Nweze, chairman of the Anambra Newspaper Distribution Association, Awka chapter, said this in an interview with NAN on Saturday.
Digital news outlets have become increasingly popular in recent years as readers prefer to read the news online than offline.
Due to this readership shift, most print editions, broadcast and radio stations now have digital platforms to meet up with online users’ demand.
Nweze said the activities of online media publications have taken a huge toll on newspaper sales and this has led to low patronage.
“This development has seriously threatened our businesses as we hardly sell up to 100 papers in a day,” he said.
“I was, for instance, supplied 89 copies of vanguard newspaper for the week but sold only 30 copies.
“I received 75 copies of Sun newspaper but sold only 26 copies; 15 copies of Nation newspaper but sold only six copies; and four copies of Punch newspaper and sold none.”
Nweze said prior to now, he used to sell all the newspaper stock in a day but nowadays people prefer to source news from online publications without verifying their authenticity.
“Our businesses are presently sustained by paid advertorials, job vacancy placements and other forms of advertorials,” he said.
“We earnestly hope for a change in fortunes and still believe that newspapers have more merits than online publications.
“Government should consider the fact that newspaper vendors depend on commissions and when newspapers are not sold, might be induced to seek alternative means of survival.”
The chairman said he has been engaged in newspaper sales for 34 years and has not experienced the sort of “sales drought” currently being experienced.
Nancy Okoye, another newspaper vendor, told NAN that the federal government could enact laws that would sustain newspaper sales while enabling digital publications to thrive.
Okoye appealed to news publishers to curtail their online publications among other news contents, to keep newspaper vendors in business.