UCC Suspends Urban TV’s Scoop on Scoop Show

Collage of Tina Fierce and Sheila Gashumba.

Vision Group’s Urban TV is on the verge of losing its broadcasting license over Sqoop on Sqoop show hosted by Tina Fierce.

In a May 25, 2020, letter issued by the UCC Acting Executive Durector, Ms Kaggwa Sewankambo stated that the Commission had received complaints about the content and nature of ‘Scoop on Scoop’ show airing on Urban TV.

The complainants had explicitly alleged that during the month of May 2020, Scoop on Scoop featured content that was “abusive, demeaning and inciting; opinionated and not attributed to any reliable source” contravening the Minimum Broadcasting Standards as enshrined in the Uganda Communications Act 2013.

Accordingly, the Commission initiated investigations in accordance with sections 5(1)(b), (x) and (j), 31 and 45 of the Uganda Communications Act 2013.

To facilitate the investigations, Urban TV was asked to submit a written representation in response to the complaints, and to submit recordings of the programme for the period of May 1 – 20, 2020.

Urban TV was also asked to provide proof of certification and registration of the producer and the host of the programme, in accordance with sections 5 and 27 of the Press and Journalist Act, Cap. 105.

Vision Group enclosed DVDs of the programme, but neither made representations on the complaint as requested nor provided evidence of the producer and the host’s qualifications, UCC said.

In response, Vision Group wrote to the Commission on May 29, 2020, stating that the complaint had been forwarded to its Human Resource Department for disciplinary proceedings.

“Once the process is completed we shall advise on the outcome,” the Vision Group letter stated.

Mrs Sewankambo noted that in addition to not complying with the Commission’s directives, the TV station had continued to air the same programme, in the same manner, leading to other complaints.

In her letter of June 30, 2020, to Vision Group, the UCC Executive Director pointed out that Urban TV had not complied with the Commission’s directives and decided to suspend the show.

“The Commission notes with concern that other than generally stating that Urban TV had subjected the said complaint to your internal processes, your response of May 29, 2020, did not comply with the Commission’s directives as indicated in the letter of May 25,” the Executive Director wrote.

The UCC Executive Director warned that Urban TV risks “other appropriate regulatory sanctions” if the station doesn’t adhere to the aforesaid directives.

“Sanctions available to the Commission in the event of failure to comply include suspension of the station’s broadcasting license” she added.

According to UCC, the programme is to remain suspended until Urban TV has satisfactorily demonstrated to the Commission that Scoop on Scoop “has sufficient controls to avoid the risk of breaching the Minimum Broadcasting Standards and the rights of other members of the public.

Besides, the TV station is required to comply with the Commission’s directives issued earlier on May 25, 2020, and to submit recordings of the programme for the period between June 1-26, 2020.

Through their lawyers M/s Balondemu & Co. Advocates, Sheila Gashumba and her boyfriend Ali Marcus Moses Sempija, served Urban TV with an intention to sue notice over the same show where they alleged that Urban TV had in the past three weeks used Scoop on Scoop to broadcast “false, offensive, scandalous and harmful content” against them. In response to the Complaints, Urban TV suspended the program, but assured their fans that it will be back.

“ANNOUNCEMENT: #ScoopOnScoop takes a season break but we shall be back soon, BIG AND BETTER”, stated Urban TV.

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