Log in
Free: The Observer Mobile App - Exclusive Content and Services

NBS agrees as NTV defies UCC order to suspend journalists

Uganda Communications Commissions and the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) have agreed to suspend the 39 journalists from 13 media houses that the telecommunications regulator accuses of breaching minimum broadcasting standards. 
Last week, UCC ordered seven radio stations and six TV stations to suspend their top editors and producers for alleged violation of minimum broadcasting standards during recent protests over the arrest and detention of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu also known as Bobi Wine.
Following a meeting at UCC headquarters in Bugolobi today, NAB chairperson Kin Karisa, who is also the proprietor of NBS TV and Pearl FM, some of the accused stations, the broadcasters agreed to suspend the staff for 30 days to allow for UCC investigations. However almost immediately, Nation Media Group (NMG) whose NTV was also ordered to suspend its head of news, progammes manager and producer, until UCC produces more and specific evidence per each accused individual, none of their staff shall be suspended from their current positions.   
NMG Uganda general manager, Daniel Kalinaki in an interview with NTV said without UCC stating specific breaches against the head of news, Josephine Karungi and head of programming, Robert Mawerere, it will be extremely hard for the suspension order to be implemented. But for NBS TV, the head of news Joyce Bagala, Chris Wanobere the progammes manager and producer Canary Mugume are to be moved to other departments, according to Karisa. 
"So we have resolved that we allow UCC to investigate and we have given them 30 days to come up with results of the investigations. We have also agreed that instead of suspending our staff, we ask them to take up other roles not those specific roles to allow UCC to investigate…They will step aside to allow UCC to investigate." Karisa said. 
NMG has a history of defying UCC directives including the previous order in February this year to suspend the Daily Monitor website after it published a court case story against speaker Rebecca Kadaga. Kadaga had been sued by her self-confessed witchdoctor Damian Akuze over failure to clear over Shs 200m for black magic services arrears dating back as far as 1990. Akuze has since withdrawn the case citing death threats against him and his family. 
It is not immediately clear if the other accused stations; Akaboozi FM, Beat FM, Capital FM, CBS FM, Radio Sapientia and Radio Simba as well as Bukedde TV, BBS TV, Salt TV and Kingdom TV will implement the new resolution.    

The stations are specifically accused of failing to install equipment capable of delaying live broadcast for several minutes in order to edit out content deemed inciting to members of the public or offensive to protected groups of the population.     

UCC executive director Godfrey Mutabazi says that the broadcasters have since requested the regulator to conduct separate investigations into the alleged breaches. He says that NAB argued that the stations could have not collectively breached the standards to warrant collective punishment.        

"There has been a lot of issues in the broadcasting industry, media industry and we have been writing to them memos, we have been engaging media houses for a period of time...The content that has been coming through is completely different from what they promised to bring. Instead of news items, they bring documentaries, instead of documentaries they bring hate speech, inciting public violence. So those are the kind of things we are looking at. Once we are done with investigations we shall come up with a report and take the necessary action." said Mutabazi. 

Mutabazi says that over the next one month, the commission will probe the stations for adherence to broadcasting guidelines drafted by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) itself.    

He adds that the investigation will also focus on ascertaining shortfalls of each broadcasting station before they are sanctioned accordingly. He says the new position demands that the affected members of staff step aside to prevent interference with the investigations.    

"We don't care whether they [suspended staff] become writers, cameramen so long as they can put in another position…so that we can come and freely investigate." added Mutabazi.

Karisa said broadcasters are required to adhere to the minimum broadcasting standards during the investigations in order to continue normal operations including live broadcasts.      

Ibrahim Bbosa, the head of public relations at UCC says the investigation targets all content produced within the last week of April. He says stations which will cooperate, will have their investigations concluded within a few days.   


0 #1 Jonathan Luyirika 2019-05-07 22:51
Though the parliament discovered and disclosed three radios which are operating illigally without license, Mutabazi didn't close them.

Mr. Mutabazi,is that not bleaching of minimum broadcasting standards?
Report to administrator
0 #2 Ugthinker 2019-05-07 23:22
Ugandans Barr the funniest people on earth! How can NBS be faulted minimum broadcasting standards ahead of ABS TV????

Dr Besigye has always called upon these so called elites who have always derogatorily called his activism hooliganism! Now the oppressors are at their doorsteps! Big mistake to comply......
Report to administrator
0 #3 kalano jonathan 2019-05-07 23:54
Is this censorship of the press or diluting the quality of news?
Report to administrator
0 #4 WADADA roger 2019-05-08 00:10
But NBS has been struggling to convince the public that Joyce Bagala is still at station, i dont know why, does she have such a huge following to deserve such attention.

Anyway, they say cowards live longer but they die in masses, lets watch the space.
Report to administrator
0 #5 WADADA roger 2019-05-08 00:13
I hear " ........... NMG has a history of defying UCC directives including the previous order in February this year to suspend the Daily Monitor website after it published a court case story against speaker Rebecca Kadaga after she was sued by her self-confessed witchdoctor over failure to clear over Shs 200m for black magic services arrears.........".

How come your paper has produced a story that was intended to remain confidential, wont UCC order you to erase the story
Report to administrator
0 #6 Chris 2019-05-08 09:24
I love the humbleness of Ugandans and that is why government and its henchmen has driven Ugandans blindly.

I do not understand the role of Broadcasters association. Resist Mutabazi and all members of the association temporarily suspend broadcasting including the government media.

Then he will know the freedom of press NBS i have always doubted you. even in Elections you dis fumy things and you think Ugandans forgot. today you are at forefront for compromise so that others follow you.
Report to administrator
0 #7 Chris 2019-05-08 09:29
Let us not pretend, the move by UCC is to stop media houses from broadcasting any thing to do with opposition. simple and clear we are not fools we are just humble.

All (foolish) institutions working for an individual not the institution. I bet lets be responsible Ugandans because the sanctions made today at time X will catch up with the current beneficiaries of the system nothing lasts for ever. greediness makes a silly mother cow suck her own breasts starves the calf.
Report to administrator
+2 #8 Wagidoso 2019-05-08 17:41
Kin Kailsa & his father 'Dr' Kalisa are M7's agents who other broadcasters shouldn't trust.

Kin was for a long time M7's personal IT specialist following his state house sponsored IT studies in China.

M7 attended his wedding too at Kibuli some time in 2006 or 2007. Ug broadcasters better watch who negotiates on you behalf
Report to administrator
0 #9 Lakwena 2019-05-10 10:30
Is NBS and others that spineless?

In other words, thanks and bravo to NTV for standing up to a bully!

Eish! Otherwise, unless Ugandans start standing up to the current bullying, it can only get worse.

The psychology of bullying is that: bullies are products of low self esteemed (inferiority), vane, courteousness and cowardice. And in order to make up for their incompetence, inadequacy, they resort to terror (substitutionalism).

Bullies easily become the dictators we are now stuck with in Africa. The lessor ones are the rapists, petty thieves, armed robbers, the corrupt, erection riggers, etc..
Report to administrator

Comments are now closed for this entry