Communications regulator, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has Wednesday directed Monitor Publications to stop providing online services pending registration of their website.
In a letter to Monitor Publications, UCC claims that Monitor’s website is operating illegally in Uganda since the company has never complied with last year’s Commission’s directive to have all online news websites registered.
UCC says they issued public notices on March 2018 and April 4, 2018 requiring “all providers of online data communication services, which includes provision of online newspaper services” to register and obtain authorisation, which monitor has until now not done.
According to UCC, it was realised that Monitor’s website was not registered, following a complaint from the office of the Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, stating that a story was allegedly published on their website against her, with an intention of damaging her reputation.
In the story, a one Damian Akuze, a traditional healer from Kamuli district, had filed a suit in the Jinja High court against Kadaga for allegedly refusing to pay him for his sorcery that allegedly propelled her to her current position of speakership, something Kadaga has come out to refute and petitioned the commission over the matter.
UCC would later start investigations which revealed that Monitor “actively runs an online platform, which falls within the scope of data communication services, provision of which requires one to obtain an authorisation from UCC in accordance with sections 5(1)(a) and 27 of the Uganda Communications Act 2013”, which monitor has never applied for.
While talking to SoftPower News, Ibrahim Bbosa, UCC’s Spokesperson, said that the commission thought wise to have them (Monitor Publications) register first as the investigations into Kadaga’s complaint are ongoing.
“As investigations and all the subsequent processes are going on, UCC felt it first to put that into order, because definitely they would be regarded an illegal broadcaster in terms of online, they need to first make good,” he said.
Bossa further refuted media reports that they (UCC) had in the letter revoked Monitor’s licence, saying it is simply a reminder to them to have the publication registered.
“Do not take it to the extreme that we have taken them out of business, it is not a revocation, it is basically a notice that you are operating without proper procedure which is registration in this case,” he said.
Bossa adds that Monitor publications have a chance to go to UCC and register their online publication as soon as they can, short of which, the Commission block their services.