The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) is undertaking intensive investigations into the operations of the 13 Radio and Television stations initially cited for breaching minimum broadcasting guidelines.
The stations had been instructed to suspend 39 senior staff including news producers and managers, who allegedly violated the guidelines during recent protests by Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, also known as Bobi Wine.
The stations include Akaboozi FM, Beat FM, Capital FM, CBS FM, Pearl FM, Radio Sapientia and Radio Simba. The directive also affected Bukedde TV, BBS TV, Salt TV, NBS TV, NTV, and Kingdom TV.
They were specifically accused of failing to install equipment capable of delaying Live broadcast for several minutes in order to edit out content deemed inciting to members of the public or offensive to protected groups of the population.
UCC Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi says that the broadcasters have since requested the regulator to conduct separate investigations into the alleged breach. He says that the National Association of Broadcasters-NAB argued that the companies could have not collectively breached the standards to warrant collective punishment.
The decision was taken during a meeting with Executives of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) led by their chairperson Kin Karisa. The meeting was held at the UCC headquarters in Bugolobi early today.
Mutabazi says that over the next month, the commission will probe the stations for adherence to broadcasting guidelines drafted by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Minimum Broadcasting Standards.
He adds that the investigation will also focus on ascertaining shortfalls of each broadcasting station before they are sanctioned accordingly. He says the new position demands that the affected members of staff step aside to prevent interference with the investigations.
Kin Karisa, the Chairperson of the National Association of Broadcasters told journalists that they agreed to abide by the new demands of the regulator.
Karisa says broadcasting companies are required to adhere to the minimum broadcasting standards during the investigations in order to continue normal operations including live broadcasts.
Ibrahim K. Bbosa, the Head of Public Relations at the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) says the investigation targets all contents produced within the last week of April. He says stations which will cooperate, will have their investigations concluded within a few days.