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Court allows StarTimes to broadcast World Cup

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By  EPHRAIM KASOZI

Posted  Monday, June 30  2014 at  01:00

In Summary

More than 180,000 viewers had been denied access to World Cup matches

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KAMPALA- Court has ordered the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to temporarily allow StarTimes pay TV to broadcast the on-going World Cup in Brazil.

Presiding Judge Steven Kavuma of the Constitutional Court last week issued the interim order overturning a decision by UCC to block the broadcasting of the World Cup by StarTimes’. UCC accused StarTimes of broadcasting the World Cup illegally.

“An interim mandatory injunctive order is hereby issued directing the respondents to switch on and or allow continued and uninterrupted transmission of the UBC TV World Cup feed on StarTimes platform until hearing and final determination of the main case,” the court order reads.

The order followed a hearing of submissions by a lawyer, Mr Mulema Mukasa, representing businessman Joseph Asiimwe who is challenging UCC’s action. Mr Asiimwe sued the Attorney General (AG), UCC and Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC).

Only MultiChoice’s SuperSport and the national broadcaster, Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) have the rights from the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) to broadcast the football tournament.

However, StarTimes reportedly signed a Shs200 million deal with UBC, a free to air channel, to broadcast the World Cup, a deal UCC said was illegal.

UBC attained its rights to broadcast the World Cup from the African Union of Broadcasting (AUB), a union for all national broadcasters, which is a FIFA partner.

The court order also restrained agents of UCC, AG and UBC from switching off or denying transmission of the UBC TV World Cup feed on ZUKU TV until hearing and final determination of the case.

“The applicant (Asiimwe) and the deputy registrar of this court are directed to ensure expeditious completion of all pre-trial steps, including the effective service of relevant court process to the respondents to ensure that the main application is heard not later than July 7 this year,” the court order reads.

ekasozi@ug.nationmedia.com