Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Radio Stations in Lango Sub-region have denied allegations that they are denying air space to candidates of the National Unity Platform Party- NUP.
The radio stations under Lango Radio Owners and Managers Association argue that they accord time to all candidates irrespective of political affiliation.
On Tuesday, Joel Ssenyonyi, the NUP Party Spokesperson, said that they had received complaints from their members especially in Lango, Northern and Western Regions indicating that they are being denied airtime on some media houses to market their programs to voters.
The decision by some broadcasters to deny candidates radio space contravenes the 2013 Uganda Communication Commission Act. Recently, UCC issued guidelines, stating that stations should not turn away candidates running for presidential and parliamentary seats and that they should accord an equal opportunity to candidates without discrimination.
Teddy Okot, the Chairperson of the Lango Radio Owners and Managers Association says they have not received instructions to stop hosting or allocating air time to NUP candidates. Okot, also the head of Voice of Lango says they are allocating time to candidates equally.
Magdalen Kasuku, the manager Radio Wa refuted the media claims which she says she learnt through social media.
Kasuku says they have gone a step further to create a new program to provide a platform to all candidates at no cost.
Charles Dickens Elem, the manager Radio North also refuted the media allegations. He, however, said that they ensure that they adhere to the minimum broadcasting standards.
“We try always to control our guests at least not to utter something that will bring us problems…of course like when you say something against the government, it can bring you problems”, he says.
In 2018, Unity FM radio based in Lira was closed on the orders of the Lira District Police Commander Joel Tubanone. He stormed the radio station with heavily armed police personnel and military officers, switched off the radio and picked six staff on allegations of inciting violence.
Resident District Commissioners have also been accused of blocking radio stations from hosting opposition politicians.
The stations under the Lango Radio Owners and Managers Association have also come up with a uniform rate to charge candidates.
According to Elvis Ajwike, the Marketing Executive Voice of Lango, candidates vying for local government seats are charged One Million Shillings per hour, Members of Parliament pay two million shillings while presidential candidates Three Million Shillings.