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Abiriga Murder: UCC Orders Broadcasters to “Sieve Content”

Electronic media houses around the country have been cautioned to stop allowing talk show guests, callers and commentators from expressing views that are “inciting, discriminating, and stirring up hatred and violence against persons and groups in society.”

The warning was sounded Wednesday morning by the Uganda Communications Commission, who said concernedly in a statement that broadcasters were allowing members of the public to use their platforms to spread hatred.

The directive follows last Friday’s gruesome murder of Arua Municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga, which shocked the nation and sparked debates that have often been laced with political and tribal sentiments.

It also comes on the heels of threats by President Yoweri Museveni to shut down hate spewing media houses in his efforts to stop the spate of political assassinations.

UCC’s Fred Atunnu on behalf of the Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi, said broadcasters have been providing a platform to the wrong elements in form of interviews, talk shows, or people calling in during phone-in shows.

This he said contravenes a number of sections of the UCC Act .

He thus asked the broadcasters to “sieve content that is likely to cause undue offence and breach of the minimum broadcasting standards.”

“The purpose of this letter therefore is to warn and remind all broadcasters to strictly comply with their statutory and licence obligations, failure of which will leave UCC with no alternative but to invoke regulatory sanctions…or institute criminal proceedings,” warned Otunnu.

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