UCC suspends staff of 7 radios, 6 TVs over Bobi Wine

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Ugandan Communications Commissions [UCC] has ordered seven radio stations and six television stations directed to suspend staff for suspected breach of Minimum broadcasting standards.

The Commission directed the suspension of Producers, Head of News and Head of Programmes in the following broadcasting stations; AKABOOZI FM, BBS TV, BEAT FM, BUKEDDE TV, CAPITAL FM, CBS FM, KINGDOM TV, NBS TV, NTV, PEARL FM, SALT TV, SAPIENTIA FM and SIMBA FM.

This follows concerns over the nature of content aired on these broadcast stations particularly during live programmes, breaking news, and main news bulletins which do not comply with the Minimum broadcasting standards.

The Commission observes that these programmes contain content that:-

1.     Misrepresents information, views, facts and events in a manner likely to mislead or cause alarm to the public.

2.     Has extremist or anarchic messages, including incitement of violence for political and/or other purposes.

3.     Incites the public against other members of the public based on their political, religious, cultural and tribal affiliations which are likely to create public insecurity or violence.

Further, the said programmes are presented in a manner that is unbalanced, sensational and often give undue prominence to specific individuals and/or groups of people, which is a breach of the Minimum broadcasting standards as enshrined in Section 31 schedule 4 of the Uganda Communications Act, 2013.

The commission has previously engaged and warned above broadcasters over similar complaints, but it is now apparent that they have refused and/or ignored these warnings.

Therefore, in exercise of its mandate under Sections 5(1)0), 31 and 45 of the Uganda Communications Act 2013, the Commission has commenced full investigations to determine whether/or not the manner in which the above broadcasters present live programmes and news stories is in accordance with the expected standards and codes of ethics of Journalism.

To avoid a recurrence of similar breaches during the investigations, and because the said broadcasters have previously been warned about related concerns, the Commission has DIRECTS that:

1.     Each of the above broadcasting stations should immediately SUSPEND the Producer, Head of News and Head of Programmes pending conclusion of the investigations.

2.     Each broadcasting station above should within three (3) days from the date of the notice, submit to the Commission the names, particulars and qualifications of the subject office holders

3.     Each broadcasting station above should within three (3) days from the date of the notice, submit to the Commission recordings of all live programs and news bulletins aired on the 29th of April 2019

If and when a broadcasting station fails or otherwise refuses to comply with any of the above directives, the Commission shall proceed to determine this issue and pass regulatory sanctions in accordance with Section 41 of the Uganda Communications Act, 2013.

This came after the radios and television stations aired protests in support of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine who is expected to return to court tomorrow, Thursday.

“We shall do everything including defiance activities until this regime falls in whatever way,” said lawyer Asuman Basalirwa said.

Five were injured in Tuesday protests in Kisekka market including; two pregnant women and three men who sustained multiple wounds.

The protestors were demanding for the release of Bobi Wine currently on remand at Luzira prison.

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