Tag Archives: Uganda

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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MTN Uganda launches VoD channel

Mobile telecoms company MTN in Uganda has launched a video-on-demand (VoD) channel dedicated to local films called Kibanda Xpress.

Aggrey Mugisha

Aimed at boosting the local film industry, the service has launched in partnership with the Association of Core Film Producers Uganda, trading as Pearlwood, alongside Albayan Media, the platform provider for the YOTV mobile app.

YOTV allows consumers to stream local and international radio and TV channels in real time via smartphones.

The Kibanda Xpress channel will feature over 150 Ugandan movies and live-stream other local entertainment content.

MTN Uganda chief marketing officer Sen Somdev said: “In 2020, globally there was unprecedented growth in online video usage with revenues estimated at US$34bn, of which premium VoD accounted for at least US$630m. Africa is gradually making its mark on the global entertainment industry with its vast talent and unique flavour of storytelling.

“We recognise the potential of the movie industry to create employment, to reposition the African narrative and positively contribute to the national GDP. Through Kibanda Xpress, we hope to boost the Uganda film industry to realise that potential.”

Mzee Bwanika, speaking for Pearlwood’s board of directors, added: “Our dream as local film content creators is to build a sustainable industry in which content creators not only earn consistently from their content, but one in which they also thrive and gain the global visibility deserved.

“Without doubt, going digital is the right move for the industry; it will reduce copyright infringements, increase the footprint of the Uganda movies and expose our artists globally among others. We are therefore very excited and appreciate our partners MTN and Albayan Media for making this possible.”

Aggrey Mugisha, YOTV channels CEO, said: “YOTV channels is a platform for our local content. We are here to tap different storytelling techniques from around Uganda and share them with global audiences. There is a unique tradition of storytelling in every country and, if it can be captured on film, then through YOTV channels we can share it with the world.

“Pearlwood is a great example that our local movie industry can be global, and that Uganda is a great entertainment market for the rest of the world.”

Kibanda Xpress can be accessed via the YOTV app from Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

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