Media houses should ignore UCC unlawful directives - Daily Monitor

Media houses should ignore UCC unlawful directives

Saturday May 4 2019

In a letter dated April 30, UCC wrote warnings

In a letter dated April 30, UCC wrote warnings to several media houses against broadcasting contents that UCC considers incites violence. Courtesy photo 

By Ramathan Shafi

Any media house that will enforce the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) order to media houses to suspend employees will face the wrath of the law from the affected employees. Besides, the media house will regrettably continue to be harassed by UCC.

In a letter dated April 30, UCC wrote warnings to several media houses against broadcasting contents that UCC considers incites violence. In particular, it ordered NBS TV to suspend their producer, head of news, and head of programmes for what it terms “repeated breach of the minimum broadcasting standards.” This is like shutting down the TV.

This arose from the decision by some of the media houses to air live procession by singer-turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, when he was heading to the CID headquarters Kibuli to answer to charges of unlawful demonstration.

UCC holds the view that the programmes aired by media houses of the procession headed by Bobi Wine contained content that misrepresented information, facts and events in a manner likely to mislead or cause alarm to the public
But how does UCC determine that a content misrepresent information? Why does UCC target media that host Opposition politicians? Importantly, why doesn’t UCC act when Opposition politicians are denied their right to speak on radio stations by State agents? This is the right time and the last chance for media houses to remain firm and protect their freedom.

UCC has in the past closed radio stations, including KFM and Buganda’s Central Broadcasting Service radios as well as NTV Uganda television. However, because some media houses stood firm and didn’t allow to be bulldozed by UCC and State agents, they overcame the unlawful censure.

Any person running business understands the fact that whenever a media house is closed down, it loses a lot of revenue. But this does not mean that a media house should bow down to pressure because of fear of losing business.
The media should not be seen as one of the institutions bowing to unlawful pressure brought against them.

Broadcasting contents that UCC considers to be inciting people has nothing to do with the journalists on the camera, production and broadcasting. Otherwise, abiding by unreasonable UCC orders will catastrophic to media houses.

Therefore, the right thing to do is either disobey the unlawful UCC orders or they abide by it and continue to be harassed by the body. This is because when they accept illegal directives once, then it will become a habit. becomes a habit.

Ramathan Shafi,
[email protected]

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