Tag Archives: Uganda Communications Commission

Ugandan regulator probes TV stations

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has placed 23 television stations under investigation for allegedly airing content that violates the East African country’s copyright laws.

Susan Wegoye

The TV stations include UBC Star TV, NBS TV, U24TV, Magic1 HD TV, Excel TV, GMTV, Fresh TV, Nyce TV, HGTV, GTV, Top TV, Ndejje TV, BBS TV, Kingdom TV, UBC TV, Baba TV, BTM TV, Tagy TV, Family TV, KS TV, See TV, Spirit TV and STV.

The commission had written to the stations demanding they immediately cease broadcasting programmes or content for which they have not acquired the necessary authorisation or rights.

A letter to the stations signed by acting UCC executive director Susan Wegoye reads: “Please note that Section 46 of the Copyrights & Neighbouring Rights Act of 2006 strictly prohibits broadcasters from exhibiting copyrighted material to the public for commercial purposes by way of broadcast, public performance or otherwise without a valid transfer, licence, assignment or authorisation.”

According to the Uganda Communications Act of 2013, all broadcast programmes must comply with relevant laws and regulations, including the Uganda Communications (Content) Regulations 2019, which requires all broadcasters to comply with the Copyrights & Neighbouring Rights Act of 2006 and the Industrial Property Act of 2014.

Wegoye went on to say that adherence to the law is further stipulated in the licence agreement that was signed between the 23 stations and the UCC, which requires every station to maintain records of rights obtained for programming that they broadcast.

The UCC added that 84 programmes previously aired by the TV stations had been reported for alleged copyright infringement – most of them foreign movies – and the stations have been directed to respond to the complaints in writing as well as provide proof and evidence of acquisition of copyrights and broadcasting rights to the content.

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UCC orders Spark to suspend Live Wire

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has directed local broadcaster Spark TV to suspend its Live Wire programme.

The order comes after Spark TV ignored the regulator’s directive to reschedule Live From from its evening slot to a time between 22.00 and 05.00 because of its adult-themed content.

The UCC had instructed 11 TV stations to reschedule certain programmes, with Spark TV being the only one that failed to comply. Shows affected include NBS TV’s Uncut Sabula and Uncut Kalakata, Urban TV’s Short Circuit Sonsomola, ABS TV’s Evening Zone, Baba TV’s Poko Poko, and BBS TV’s Roundabout.

According to the UCC, Spark TV went ahead to air the programme as scheduled, indicating that it was not culpable of any breach.

After defying the commission’s directive, Spark TV has been ordered to submit recordings of Live Wire that aired between September 1 and October 20 this year and to “immediately suspend Live Wire until it has satisfactorily demonstrated that the programme has been appropriately scheduled in accordance with the directive of 18th October 2021.”

Outlining its concerns around Live Wire and the other shows, the UCC said:  “The programmes contain adult content, sexual innuendos and profanity, with the potential to disturb and harm some members of the public, especially children; tThe presenters of the programmes often appear on air when dressed indecently in skimpy outfits; the programmes often contain inaccurate, misleading and unverified content, which often defames other individuals.”

The broadcasters have been reminded to ensure their programmes comply with minimum broadcasting standards enshrined in the Uganda Communications Act, 2013, the Uganda Communications (Content) Regulations 2019, and other relevant laws.

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UCC creates content evaluation body

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has set up a Content Development Support Programme evaluation committee in response to the screen industry’s appeal for financial help.

Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo

The committee is led by Sister Dominica Dipio, a filmmaker, author and professor of literature and film at Makerere University, and also includes Ugandan film industry players Judith Adong and Philip Luswata; Claire Mugabi of the Uganda Tourism Board; and Collin Asiimwe, head of marketing at Multichoice Uganda.

They will be responsible for processing applications and recommending which filmmakers deserve financial support for their projects. The committee has already received about 60 applications.

According to the acting executive director of the UCC, Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo, the Content Development Support Programme will assist great projects that are held back by a lack of resources required to take them to the next level.

“We have listened to the industry asking for support. We are now in your hands; help us to find that product that needs our support. The Content Development Support Programme is an initiative dedicated to supporting the audiovisual industry in Uganda,” said Sewankambo.

“Through this initiative, production companies can seek support for the development of creative content for film, television and digital media, including feature films, short films, animation, documentaries and television dramas.

“It is envisaged that through the support provided by this programme, Ugandans will be able to create employment opportunities, generate revenue, acquire skills, promote and develop audiences for local content.”

In addition, the evaluation committee will also develop scoring criteria to assess the submitted projects while looking out for originality, feasibility, uniqueness and relevance, among other attributes, and make recommendations to the UCC.

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