Artistes across the country have punched holes in the proposed Stage Play and Entertainment Act. The Act was drafted by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and suggests among others that every artiste should be registered under ministry, no artiste will be allowed to shoot a video without authorisation from the ministry, no artiste shall perform under the influence of drugs and artistes shall first be cleared by the Ministry before holding international performance, among others.
Early this year, artistes met at Jahazi Pier and vowed to fight the proposed bill because it is flawed and contradicts rights of Ugandans as the Constitution guarantees.
The first step was to write to minister Peace Mutuzo to show their displeasure about the said bill.
On Wednesday, comedian Hannington Bugingo said they had rejected the said new laws.
“Much as we advocate for a regulated arts sector, we want laws that will nurture, preserve and promote our industry but not kill it,” The Uganda Comedians Association (TUCA) boss said.
In the letter to the minister titled ‘Legal Memorandum’, the artistes highlighted that the bill requires artistes to be registered under the Ministry of Gender before practicing, but article 40 (2) of Uganda’s Constitution guarantees a right for every person to practice in their professional and carry out Lawful trade.
Artistes also say that other rules like indecent dress, set penalties, getting clearance from the Ministry before international performs is illegal.
They argue that these regulations are not adding any value to the entertainment industry since there are many ‘acts’ that artistes work under like Copyright and Neighboring Act, Employers Act, Contracts Act, Occupational Safety and Health Act among others.
“These laws provide for frameworks within which the artistes can work, with no undue restrictions on their freedoms. There are also in place monitoring mechanisms like the Police and local councils. The Regulations are highly unnecessary and appear to only be aimed at curtailing freedom of expression, association and right to culture,” the letter states.