UCC criticized for banning live broadcasts

By Damali Mukhaye & Judith Atim

Key players in the media industry are sounding calls to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to exercise fairness as it plays its regulatory role.

According to James Kigozi the Executive Director of the Uganda Media Development Foundation, UCC must revisit its mode of operation in order to ensure that it is serving public interest and not the interest of an individual.

Meanwhile Patrick Tumwine, the Advocacy, Research & Information Officer at the Human Rights Network notes that what UCC has done is against the right of access to information by the public and media freedom.

The comments follow yesterday’s directive by UCC barring radios and Television stations from relaying live feeds.

UCC says live broadcasts are in breach of the minimum broadcasting standards as laid down in Section 31 of the Uganda Communications Act 2013, arguing that they are inciting the public, and promoting a culture of violence which may lead to insecurity.

The directive comes at a critical time as the country and parliament in particular battles the controversial proposal to lift the presidential age limit.

However, the government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo has defended the move, advising rights activists condemning it to go and hang.

Meanwhile, broadcasters have this evening written a protest note to the Uganda Communications Commission for the latter’s ban on relaying events live.

Kin Karisa, the chairman of broadcasters under their umbrella National Association of Broadcasting says the ban will be challenged in court.