The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has set October 5, 2020 as the deadline for providers of online data communication and broadcasting services to obtain authorization.
The purpose, according to UCC, is to be verified by the Commission to provide such services to the public as mandated by the law.
According to Ibrahim Bbossa, Head of Public and International Relations at UCC, the regulation of communication is intended to promote and safeguard the interest of consumers, operators, viewers and listeners.
“The purpose of this public notice, therefore, is to advise all persons currently offering or planning to commence the provision of online data communication and services including but not limited to blogs, online televisions, online radios, online newspapers, audio over IP(AoIP), Internet Protocol TV(IPTV), Video on Demand(VoD), Digital Audio radios and televisions, internet/web television, to obtain authorization from UCC before providing such services to the public,” the notice reads.
Bbossa also added, “In accordance with the sections 2, 5 and 27 of the Act and Regulation 5 of the Uganda Communication (content) Regulations 2019, UCC is mandated to license, regulate and set standards for the provision of all communication services in Uganda including radio communication and online broadcasting among others.”
Failure to adhere to the terms and conditions, the notice further stated, the Commission may cancel the authorization by notice in writing for breach of the provisions listed below, in which case the Authorized Entity thereupon will immediately cease offering its online publishing services.
The Commission authorizes Entities to provide online data communication services on the following terms and conditions;
- The Authorized Entity undertakes to abide at all times to the provisions of the Uganda Communications Act 2013 and all other laws in Uganda.
- The Authorized Entity shall ensure full and extensive disclosure of the shareholding and financial structures as provided in the application and shall ensure that this status is adhered to throughout the authorization period.
- The Authorized Entity shall ensure content uniformity between the online version and any print versions of the content that may be printed.
- The Authorization shall be restricted to only the Authorized Entity and shall not be transferred except with prior written consent of the Commission.
- The Authorized Entity undertakes to ensure that all employees (if any) are given contracts of employment clearly specifying the terms and conditions of their employment.
- The Authorized Entity undertakes to ensure that all that is broadcast on its website or any other online electronic platform is in conformity with the laws of Uganda, the code of conduct for broadcasters, the Minimum broadcasting standards and the code of ethics of journalists.
- The Authorized Entity shall have a public interest obligation to ensure pluralism in the provision of news, views and information, giving wide and enlighten choices to citizens and contribute significantly to an effective and vibrant democracy providing a balanced and wide variety of points of view on matters of public concern.
Others include; contribute to the development of pro-social values by providing content of specific interest to all ethnic groups, gender, and persons with disabilities in an accurate and fair manner.
- The Authorized Entity undertakes to ensure that any content which is broadcast on its platform(s) is not contrary to the public morality, doesn’t promote the culture of violence or ethnical prejudice among the public, is free from distortion of facts, is not likely to create public insecurity or violence, is in compliance with all the existing laws and is not pornographic in nature among others.
- The Authorized Entity undertakes to make all its content available to the Commission immediately on demand among others,” reads the statement.