Communications regulator, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has prohibited radios and televisions from broadcasting live feeds which it says are inciting the public and stirring violence among the viewers. UCC has threatened to suspend or revoke licenses of broadcasters that breach the standard practices of live broadcasting particularly those that create insecurity.
The directive follows the heightening of political tension in Kampala and the country as a whole in light of some MPs’ move to amend the constitution to remove the Presidential age limit. On Tuesday, chaos and brawls rocked the Parliamentary chambers with Opposition MPs blocking the tabling of the motion seeking to introduce a Bill that will scrap the 75 age cap.
Major televisions relayed the live events from Parliament and protests in Kampala other parts of the country.
In a statement released by the UCC Executive Director, Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi later on Tuesday, he said that the Commission is concerned by the live broadcast of events “which are inciting the public, discriminating, stirring up hatred, promoting a culture of violence amongst the viewers and are likely to create public insecurity or violence”.
The Commission says that such live broadcasts are in breach of the Minimum broadcasting standards as laid down in Section 31 of the UCC Act 2013 and best practice guidelines for electronic media coverage, reporting and broadcasting of live events.
“The Commission hereby directs all broadcasters to immediately stop and refrain from broadcasting live feeds which are in breach of minimum broadcasting standards,” the statement by UCC further read.
Media outlets that will not abide by the warning risk having their licenses either suspended or revoked.
“UCC shall not hesitate to carry our enforcement for non compliance with these guidelines and any further breach will result into suspension and revocation of your license in accordance with Section 41 of the UCC Act,” Eng. Mutabazi warned.
It is unclear however whether the warning will not be perceived as a move to violate freedoms to access information by the public and the cardinal duty of the press to inform Ugandans.