ANXIETY AS UCC MOVES TO BAN RADIO PRESENTERS PROMOTING BOBI WHILE BASHING GEN M7
By Mulengera Reporters
President Yoweri Museveni believes that political activists loyal to the Kyagulanyi political network were able to quickly mobilize countrywide protests for two days (Wednesday and Thursday) because line regulator UCC hasn’t been adequately tough on radio and TV presenters who use hateful language towards his government while openly inciting and calling on people to embrace the People Power wave. The veteran politician from Rwakitura believes this has been the case especially among upcountry media houses and more so radios where presenters engage in partisan politics taking advantage of the fact UCC concentrates much of its regulatory efforts on big-name radio stations in Kampala and much of Buganda region hinterland surrounding the Capital Kampala.
That some presenters don’t even have qualification to be able to do broadcasting without breaching minimum broadcasting standards. Gen Museveni faults them for amplifying and propagating sectarian language aimed at demonizing certain tribes all of which is prohibited and criminal under the laws governing broadcasting. He therefore wonders why UCC has been reluctant to enforce the law while cracking the whip hard on individual presenters and the media stations employing such people. He is equally demanding adequate regulation of the guys operating in the digital space under what is called the new media.
It’s against that background that on Thursday, the President spoke to the political leadership of the Information & National Guidance Ministry (under which UCC falls) to register his dismay. He wondered why UCC wasn’t acting more decisively using the laws which are clearly in place adequately empowering them to act against such offensive media personalities and presenters. As a consequence, the UCC leadership has since written to a number of upcountry radio stations majorly in the Eastern Uganda towns of Jinja, Busia, Tororo and Mbale requiring that management produces or tenders some of the recordings relating to shows and radio programs that Gen Museveni’s intelligence services have designated as inciteful and harmful.
The management of the respective radios is being required to produce a series of recordings relating to shows whose presenters have been identified as PP/NUP-leaning and therefore hostile to the ruling NRM establishment. “It’s not only political shows but they are targeting even entertainment and musical programs which presenters have been using to propagate the NUP propaganda. The regulator will be demanding answers whereby the management will have to show cause why radio license shouldn’t be revoked and individual presenters permanently banned,” says a knowledgeable source privy to the ongoing UCC investigations that will result into some radios getting sanctioned and individual presenters banned from working on any radio station.
Key regime officials believe that it’s through such “reckless” broadcasting, as they are calling it, that Kyagulanyi has been able to cultivate plenty of loyal following in mainly all major towns upcountry. That once such “reckless biased broadcasting” is diminished, the regime officials are convinced that the hostility against agents campaigning for Gen Museveni’s reelection will equally diminish and thereby creating political breathing for NRM cadres who are currently too timid because of hostile propaganda coming from popular radio entertainment/showbiz presenters who they consider to be openly biased in favor of their fellow entertainer Kyagulanyi while contradicting Gen Museveni’s track record.
“In the old days UCC was good at writing warning letters which went unheeded in most cases but this time round we are going to bite and bite real hard and the good thing now is that we have all the political backing we require,” says a top UCC official. “It’s going to be real tough action and don’t be surprised seeing some radio licenses suspended and the offending individual presenters, who bring guests and encourage them to utter irresponsible stuff against government, getting banned.” This actually won’t be the first time the Museveni regime functionaries will have caused big-name radio personalities to get banned by the regulator. In 2009 at the height of the Kayunga riots during which many lives were lost, the likes of Radio One’s Robert Kalundi Serumaga and the legendary Peter Kibaazo of Radio Simba and defunct WBS TV got banned not to practice journalism anywhere in Uganda. Whereas Kibaazo got back on air both on radio and TV (BBS), Serumaga was permanently banned causing millions of his fans and listeners to greatly miss him up to this day. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org).