Parliament Adopts Amendments To Communications Act

By Moses Kyeyune

Parliament has adopted amendments to the Uganda Communications Act, 2013, to remove the requirement for Parliamentary approval of regulations made by the minister.

The Principle Act under section 93 (1) requires parliament to approve all regulations prior to their implementation.

Under the new arrangement, the minister is free to come up with regulations in the media industry without seeking approval of the House.

The law however provides that parliament may revoke the regulations or any particular provision of the regulations that may be found to be inconsistent with the Constitution.

What the amendments mean:

The Act grants the Minister powers to make regulations relating to among other things: ees payable upon the grant or renewal of a license; the classification or categories of licenses; the use of any communications station, apparatus or license; and anti-competitive practices.

In addition, the Minister has powers to make regulations on the retention of records relating to programmes or broadcasts; the obligations of proprietors, producers or broadcaster in respect of public broadcasts; and the regulation of community broadcasting.
The Uganda Communications Act, 2013 was enacted to consolidate and harmonise the Uganda Communications Act and the Electronic Media Act; to dissolve the Uganda Communications Commission and the Broadcasting Council and reconstitute them as one body known as the Uganda Communications Commission.