The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has warned media houses against the habit of generating and disseminating fake news, warning that such media houses risk having their operation licenses revoked for good.
The warning was voiced by UCC executive director, Godfrey Mutabazi, during the Broadcasters Annual Conference in Kampala on Wednesday.
“Some media houses, especially online outlets have been used by negative elements in society to generate and disseminate fake news. Those online news outlets which are not registered by UCC face closure in the near future”, he said.
He further warned religious based television stations against broadcasting hate speech, where pastors use their TV Stations to wage verbal insults against one another.
“It’s unbelievable, but we have an answer. Do it again and your TV station will be off forever”, said the tough talking Mutabazi.
He lashed at media houses which run adverts that promote immorality and witchcraft, saying they risk facing legal action because the law prohibits acts against the good morals of the Ugandan society.
On his part, the minister for ICT and National Guidance, Frank Tumwebaze, called upon media houses to champion in-house training of their journalists to professionalize media practice in the country.
“Not everyone who holds a camera and pen is a journalist. Let’s promote in-house training of journalists if we are to achieve professional journalism in the country”, he said, adding that Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) and Next Media should spearhead the initiative, since they are major media houses in the country.
He lashed at broadcasters who host talk shows that promote hate speech and violence in the country.
“Do not promote political battles on your TV stations. Bring in experts to discuss technical issues; such as the ongoing discussions on OTPS and resident networks in the country”, he added.
The chairman National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and chief executive officer of Next Media Kin Kariisa reiterated the need for broadcasters to observe professional ethics through disseminating accurate and well researched news.
He said media houses should not be used to abuse anyone.
“We have relative media freedom, which we should use to respect laws within the set out guidelines”, he said.