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EC Directs UBC to Offer Presidential Candidates Free Media Space

The Electoral Commission (EC) acting as provided for by the Presidential Elections Act (Amended 2020), under article 24 must see to it that the national broadcaster provides equal but free air space to all contending presidential candidates in an election.

Audio 5



The Electoral Commission - EC has directed Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) to provide free air space to presidential candidates.

Paul Bukenya, EC spokesperson says he has received complaints from opposition presidential candidates in their various meetings over failure to access space on the national platforms like UBC.

EC acting as provided for by the Presidential Elections Act (Amended 2020), under article 24 must see to it that the national broadcaster provides equal but free air space to all contending presidential candidates in an election.

Bukenya, says dialogue with management of UBC has been arranged, and a resolution arrived at for the national broadcaster to approach all the presidential candidates about their campaign programs.

\\ Cue in “the presidential elections…

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This comes after physical campaigns were banned in 20 districts and cities, yet opposition candidates are reportedly denied both private and public media in these areas, apart from the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party presidential candidate and incumbent Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

Joseph Kabuleeta, an independent presidential candidate says the EC should have grips on the election process to allow candidates to access media space while on the campaign trail, but specifically in areas where physical campaigns have been banned.

He says previously, before the ban in the 20 districts and cities, police and other security operatives have ensured minimal contact between opposition candidates and the electorate in many areas, most times resulting in violence.

\\ Cue in “the police have…

Cue out …tallying the votes.”//  

Nancy Linda Kalembe, the only female presidential candidate blames the denial to access media and abuse of rights of information by security and the EC as a sign of Uganda’s poor media democracy and multiparty system.

\\ Cue in “we know that…

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Lewis Rubongoya, the Secretary-General for the National Unity Platform castigates the EC to be mindful of a bad election by not ignoring the double standards in media access for various parties and political candidates. He says on several occasions his candidate has been banned from accessing public and private media even when they are ready to pay for the airspace.

\\ Cue out “the Electoral Commission…

Cue out …give us space.”//

The NRM spokesperson, Rogers Mulindwa says their presidential candidate gets media airspace because they have a good campaign program and have developments in the last 34 years to tell the people on the media platforms.

Wilfred Senyange, the UBC spokesperson says upon the EC’s communication, UBC has contacted all presidential candidates and asked for their details of the campaign's time schedules for proper coverage and availability of airspace.

He says it is UBC’s mandate to provide free airspace to all presidential candidates who demand airspace and turn for it during the election campaign time.

\\ Cue in “we have contacted…

Cue out …contacts, their schedules.”//

UBC has four television stations and 11 radio stations across the country airing in different dialects.

The Presidential Elections (Amendment) Act 2020 recasts and expands the provisions of section 24(1) of the Presidential Elections Act No 16/2005 on equal access to and treatment of State-owned media. It places the obligation on the Electoral Commission to ensure equal treatment of all presidential candidates on State-owned media (recast s. 24(1)).    

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