UCC equally accused the media houses of airing programmes that have extremist or anarchic messages and inciting the public against other members of the public based on their political, religious, cultural and tribal affiliations which are likely to create public insecurity or violence.
The report now recommends that Radio Sapientia, Bukedde TV, NTV, NBS TV and BBS are given the notice to show cause why their licenses should not be revoked having been found culpable for contravening minimum broadcasting standards. The 52-page report also recommended that the said stations train their news reporters, producers and editors in professional reporting, emphasizing key provisions of the law and the standards.
NBS and NTV, in particular, have been asked to demonstrate that they have adequate measures in place “to ensure that news reporters, anchors, producers and editors remain impartial and non-partisan in the course of their work.”
It further recommended that Salt TV, Capital FM, CBS and Radio Simba be cautioned. The report recommends the suspension of “The Inside Story”, a programme on Pearl FM, which, according to the investigators was singled out for not being well structured, yet its host does not seem to have credible sources for the information upon which the show is based.
The report says that if the show is not redefined and adequate controls put in place, it is likely to alarm the public and become a platform for fueling political propaganda, which can result in violence. It recommends that the programme be immediately suspended until Pearl FM can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Commission that it has instituted adequate measures to improve it.
However, the investigators established that Kingdom TV had no news bulletin on the said date, although the report put the station on the spot for failing to notify UCC about changes in its programming.
“The allegations against Kingdom TV were not backed by adequate evidence to warrant further investigation,” the report says. However, the station was reminded that under the terms and conditions of its license, they ought to notify the Commission of any significant changes in their programming.
Although there was no evidence of breach against Radio Two Akaboozi and Beat FM, the stations were faulted for failing to install pre-listening and delay devices and contravening the Press and Journalists Act. However, the report recommends no action against the two radio stations.
The report clarifies that the directive to order individual producers, editors, and heads of news to step aside to was an administrative measure backed by relevant laws.
“The directive was never intended to stifle any particular person’s right. This was a purely administrative measure… deemed necessary for purposes of protecting the public against the potential continued risk of harmful content produced, edited and presented to the public by the same individuals that were subject of the investigations,” the report says.
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