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UCC blasted over directive to media houses

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) came under fire for issuing a directive to media houses to suspend their employees over a breach of “minimum broadcasting standards.”

The stations are; NTV, NBS TV, BBS TV, Bukedde TV, Kingdom TV and Salt TV. Others are; Akaboozi FM, Beat FM, Capital FM, CBS FM, Pearl Fm, Sapientia FM and Radio Simba. The media houses were ordered to suspend producers, heads of news, and heads of programs. UCC directed media houses to suspend 39 staff at the accused media houses however the latter have vowed to defy the directive citing its illegality. MPs, lawmakers, media practitioners and the general public blasted UCC over the move in what they described as the worst example of regulatory oversight.

Critics said the move by UCC could set a precedent where a regulator like Bank of Uganda orders banks to suspend staff they do not like or want. Uganda Parliamentary Press Association (UPPA) described the directive of Godfrey Mutabazi, the UCC executive directive as an act of “madness”.

African Centre of Media Excellence (ACME) also condemned the directive from UCC. “It is not as if when journalists carry live feed of an egregiously brutal arrest of a prominent public figure they are making up the story. Over the years, UCC has acted cynically with the aim of controlling, not regulating, the broadcast industry.” The directive from UCC came a few days before Uganda marked the World Press Freedom Day held every year on May 3.

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