The Communications regulator, UCC has threatened to take criminal proceedings against broadcasters who are offering a platform to views considered to be inciting, discriminatory and stirring up hatred or violence.
Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) says there is an increase in cases where the media is accommodating views that discriminate as well as threaten violence against persons or groups of people on the basis of political opinions, religion and tribes.
The warning is contained in a June 13 notice issued by UCC to all broadcasters in the country. This trend, according to UCC follows the brutal killing of Arua municipality MP, Ibrahim Abiriga last week.
“UCC has noted with concern the increasing incidences where broadcasters offer platrfom to members of the public to express views that are inciting, discriminating and stirring up hatred or violence,” the notice authored by Fred Otunnu, the UCC Acting Executive Director reads in part.
Otunnu states that these views are expressed in forms of interviews, talk shows, live phone-in shows among other platforms.
UCC has made reference to Section 5(1)(x) of the Uganda Communications Act of 2013 which empowers the Commission to set standards, to monitor and enforce compliance relating to content.
“The Commission reminds broadcasters that they have an obligation to sieve content likely to cause undue offence and breach minimum broadcasting standards,” Otunnu said.
He added that the purpose of the notice is “to warn and remind all broadcasters to strictly comply with their statutory and license obligations, failure of which will leave UCC with no alternative but to involve regulatory sanctions under Section 41 of the Uganda Communications Act and/or institute criminal proceedings against offending broadcasters at their own peril”.
The notice comes after a warning by President Yoweri Museveni who earlier this week threatened to deal with people who misuse the media platforms and social media to threaten violence on others.
Speaking during the burial of the late Abiriga in Arua on Monday, Museveni said he had heard and seen a lot of statements in regards to the murder and a number of other issues in the country but said he could not allow such to continue.
“We need to control this ‘kelele’ (noise) of fools on radio and social media. We need strong laws and if it means legislation, we can do it,” Museveni said.