The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has called upon the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to rescind an order suspending key staff in various media houses for “breaching minimum broadcasting standards.”
NAB Chairman Kin Kariisa warned, in a letter addressed to UCC Executive Director Dr Godfrey Mutabazi, that such an action would have a detrimental effect on the quality of journalism in the country.
Kariisa urged UCC instead to set a date for the broadcasters and the regulatory body to meet and discuss the concerns that prompted UCC’s order.
On April 30, UCC ordered several media houses including NBS TV to suspend their producer, head of news, and head of programmes for “repeated breach of the minimum broadcasting standards.” Other media houses that received a similar order include NTV, Salt TV, BBS TV, Bukedde TV, Kingdom TV, Capital FM, CBS FM, Simba FM, Pearl FM, Akaboozi FM, Beat FM, and Sapientia FM.
Full NAB letter to Uganda Communications Commission
RE: REPEATED BREACH OF MINIMUM BROADCASTING STANDARDS
The above matter refers.
National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has received complaints from its members about the harsh reaction of Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) towards coverage of some news events, especially those of a political nature. It is concerning that some media houses have been instructed to immediately suspend their key staff, specifically heads of Programming, Production and News.
NAB and its members believe that media plays a key role in shaping a healthy democracy by exposing loopholes in the democratic system which ultimately help government in filling them and making the system more accountable, responsive and citizen-friendly.
Abrupt suspension of key staff on orders of UCC will have adverse consequences of:
- Undermining the quality of journalism by creating an environment of fear.
Weakening standards and controls already established at the media houses and amplify the risk that led to UCC’s intervention in the first place.
- Compromising the opportunity for dialogue between UCC and broadcasters based on past relationship.
National Association of Broadcasters hereby recommends that UCC rescinds the order, to suspend media staff, pending an urgent meeting between the two parties at your call.
Looking forward to your cooperation.