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Opposition Moots Amendments to Media Laws

According to the Leader of the Opposition of Parliament Mathias Mpuuga, the Shadow Cabinet has kick-started a process of developing amendments to the Act and other media laws, which he says are draconian.
Mathias Mpuuga, the Nyendo- Mukungwe MP speaks to journalists after swearin in. Photo by Olive Nakatudde

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The Opposition in Parliament is mooting for an amendment of the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) Act and other media laws in the country in order to safeguard the freedom of the fourth estate.

The UCC Act regulates the Communications Sector which includes Telecommunications, Broadcasting, radio communication, postal communications, data communication and infrastructure. According to the Leader of the Opposition of Parliament Mathias Mpuuga, the Shadow Cabinet has kick-started a process of developing amendments to the Act and other media laws, which he says are draconian.

“The powers in Uganda Communications Commission -UCC are really not powers in a democracy. We want to really unwind some of the draconian media laws so that they can speak to the kind of democracy we want to build," Mpuuga said. 

He said that UCC is given a lot of powers that are in most cases misused against the media and therefore a need to unpack laws strangling media freedom. His statements follow a series of visits to different media organizations across Kampala.

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Mpuuga says that the Opposition is going to make consultations with media practitioners as part of their approach and that the amendments they intend to table on the floor of parliament are going to be under a Private Member’s Bill. He says that one of the Opposition members, preferably the Shadow Minister of Information Joyce Bagala will come up with the Bill after consultations being made with media houses for input.

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While responding to President Yoweri Museveni's State of the Nation Address, Mpuuga last week notified parliament about the Opposition Legislative Agenda and under the Information, Communication and Technology Sector, the Leader of Opposition said that they would initiate amendments to the Uganda Communications Act, amendments to the Data Protection and Privacy Act, review of the Minimum Broadcasting Standards, and reconsideration of the National Biotechnology and Biosafety Bill.

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