Parliament’s Director for Communication and Public Affairs Chris Obore has defended the move by parliament to establish its own Radio and Television Station. Obore says the institution needs to complement what other private media houses do in reporting Parliament.
He said that private stations cannot give parliament 24-hour coverage because they equally have obligations outside parliament. He says parliament needs a platform which will enable it to provide continuous coverage of proceedings in the chambers, committees and related field activities.
He, however, noted that although in the pipeline, the proposed establishment of the Television stations is still sluggish due to lack of funding.
Meanwhile, the establishment of the Parliament Radio Station is on course thanks to funding from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The much-awaited studio for the parliament radio station is being set up in the parliament building basement. Obore says that the Parliament Radio is to be launched immediately after procuring the necessary equipment and securing a frequency from Uganda Communications Commission (UCC).
According to Parliament’s Official Website, Jowat Enterprises Uganda was awarded the contract to set up the Parliament Radio on January 19, 2018. The Radio project, amounting to 350 million Shillings is being sponsored by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and will initially cover costs of civil and electrical works.
“It has taken us five years to get to this stage. We began with a social-political study, followed by a technical feasibility study that ended with designing the studio; all which ended in November last year,” Dison Okumu, the Director Corporate Planning and Strategy at Parliament said.
It is reported that Jowat Enterprises Uganda- the contractor would receive full payment on 100 percent completion of the project and that a second contractor is to be procured to install radio equipment in the furnished studio. Parliament intends to roll out the radio station to 22 districts in Uganda according to Okumu.
The Television studio set up is reserved for a second phase that will be executed after the construction of the new Parliamentary Chambers has been completed.
In Africa, the Parliament of Zambia recently launched its own TV station saying that this is to create demand for the public to participate in the business of parliament. It is also argued that the move is to enhance accountability, transparency and good governance.
Outside Africa, Canada is one of the countries whose parliament has a Television Station called the Cable Public Affairs Channel – CPAC which is devoted to coverage of public and government affairs including carrying full uninterrupted feed of proceedings of the House of Commons of Canada. Also, the House of the People of the Indian Parliament has its own Television Station with the mandate to telecast live proceedings in the House and others.