President Yoweri Museveni is set to meet the leadership of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) August 10, 2023 over how government distributes advertising to the media.
The meeting follows NAB announcing a countrywide ban on covering government activities over a a contentious ban on state advertising in private media houses.
“His excellency the president is scheduled to meet with the executive of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) on the 10th of August, 2023 at 12:00noon at statehouse Entebbe”. Read a letter from statehouse.
The broadcasters protest action stemmed from a directive by President Museveni that all government advertising should be exclusively channeled through the state owned Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC).
NAB’s Secretary General, Joseph Beyanga, conveyed the association’s stance, that they would not be giving coverage to government activities until the misunderstanding is resolved.
Beyanga argued that the directive on advertising amounts to an abuse of free speech and undermines the democratic processes that the government has been advocating for.
“The directive on advertising is an affront to free speech and the democratic principles that the government has been promoting. We are willing to discuss this matter, but until a mutually agreeable solution is reached, we stand firm in our decision,” said Beyanga.
The directive from the Secretary to the Treasury, Ramathan Ggoobi, threatened to dismiss all accounting officers who fail to comply with the directive.
According to Bernand Ouondo, the president of Uganda Law Society, the directive appeared to contradict the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act, which emphasizes principles such as non-discrimination, transparency, accountability, and fairness in all public procurement and disposal processes.
He said, “The government’s directive seemingly violates the East Africa Community Competition Act, which prohibits collusive market practices, market allocation, and barring competitors from accessing essential arrangements for competition. Furthermore, it hinders competition and equality as enshrined in the Constitution and Section 44 of the Act, which prohibits exclusion based on nationality, race, religion, gender, or any other criterion unrelated to qualification.”
The National Association of Broadcasters, Uganda, is the voice for the nation’s radio and television broadcasters as the premier association for broadcasters, that advances the interests of broadcasters in government, business sector and country at large.