Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has asked the management of Spark Tv to give reason why it’s license should not be suspended for violating what the regulatory body described as “minimum broadcasting standards” after MP Kato Lubwama slapped a panelist during a live show this past Friday.
MP Lubwama during the talkshow named ‘Koona ne Miles’ on Spark TV appeared to slap twice, one of the panelists, a one Andrew Bajjo, who works as a music promoter.
The two were engaged in an altercation about the MP’s proficiency in the English language.
The latter had branded the MP as “stupid,” before they tangled and were separated by the host, Miles Rwamiti.
Lubwama was enraged when Mr Bajjo accused him of being unable to debate with fellow MPs at Parliament in English.
Now UCC says it noticed “total breach of the Minimum Broadcasting Standards,breach of it’s licence terms and conditions and the law.”
It has directed Spark TV to make written submissions or representations showing cause why UCC should not suspend their license for “breach of its license terms and conditions in accordance with section 41 of the UCC Act, 2013.”
UCC further directed that the producer of the show and Rwamiti should be suspended “until UCC is satisfied that they have obtained the requisite skills to direct and present the show in strict compliance with the set standards”
Section 31(a) (ii) and (iv) of the Uganda Communications Act 2013 prohibits broadcasters from broadcasting any program or content that directly or indirectly promotes hatred or a culture of violence and likely to incite and/or glorify violent behaviours.
Later today, UCC said the Program,’Koona’, producer and presenter of this show “have henceforth been suspended Immediately.”
The development has split public opinion with moderates saying no punitive action should be taken against Spark TV as this was a “spontaneous action” which occurred during a live show.
But UCC says television must investment in equipment that can delay relay of live footage by a few second to be able to control such situations.
Others said MP Kato Lubwama should be held to account for acts of violence.
When contacted on phone, MP Lubwama told us he wouldn’t be offering any apology to Mr Bajjo, but to the members of the public for the televised ugly scene.
“I have already apologized to NTV for what I did, but I will not apologize to him,” he said.
The MP described his action as “reflex” and also argued that he didn’t actually slap the promoter.
“I only attempted to slap him. If I had slapped him he’d have fallen down,” he said.
Lubwama further accused Mr Bajjo of being disrespectful not just to him but also other musicians.
“He has abused other legends such as Mesach Semakula and other people in the field. Let him also first apologize to those people. I think other musicians after what I did will also come out and try to punish him.”