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UCC to intensify regulation of Online Media content


UCC to intensify regulation of Online Media content

UCC Executive Director Nyombi Thembo

In an effort to ensure protection of the public from harmful online content that is produced by Ugandans, the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) has set July 30, 2024 as the deadline for all operators of online news media outlets to register their outlets with UCC. The UCC Act of 2013 empowers it to regulate all forms of publishing including online distribution of audio visual and data / text content.

During a meeting with over 100 operators of news website owners at its headquaters in Bugoloobi, Kampala, UCC Executive Director, Nyombi Thembo noted that the move to increase oversight over the creation and distribution of online content is aimed to protect both consumers as well as support the growth of the industry through supporting platforms where responsible practices can be encouraged.

He emphasized that UCC intends to promote professionalism in journalism by creating an environment for self regulation.

Nyombi said: “The regulation aims to protect various groups including children, by protecting them from harmful content such as pornography, glorified violence, offensive communication and material that could create public insecurity,” Nyombi said.
He added that: “By adhering to these standards we can create a safer and more respectful online environment for all of us”.

The head of legal affairs at the Uganda Communication Commission Abudul Salaam Waiswa asked all online media proprietors to formalize their businesses by registering with UCC by submitting minimum requirements such a URSB certificate of incorporation, particulars of directors and a TIN number.

Whereas some of the practitioners welcomed the move by the government saying this will make the job more professional and respectful based on journalistic principles, a section of online media practitioners fear that this is aimed at controlling political content since the regulator has shown reluctance to reign in more harmful content such as vulgar language and nudity in music videos that is already playing on regulated TV stations.

They argued that instead UCC should be focusing on ensuring growth of these entities before putting in place what they referred to as restrictive measures for an operational license.

In response, Susan Atengo Wegoye the Director legal affairs and also the Secretary to the Board of UCC said they are enforcing already stipulated requirements laid down in the UCC Act.

Wegoye said the 100,000 shillings payable for the license is the minimum standard fees for the online business and it is charged annually, adding that it is presumed to be affordable even for the small entities.



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