According to Kakooza, now is the time to engage all stakeholders gainfully on the type of media that Uganda wants. He argues that most media houses in Uganda are giving more space to entertainment, music, comedy and sports and that media owners and managers want to play safe for fear of the repercussions.
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Commission-(UCC is playing catch up in its regulatory role in the media,
according to Dr. Fred Kakooza, a Multimedia Production and Broadcasting scholar
in the Department of Journalism and Communication at Makerere University.
He was speaking to URN
in an interview in the wake of a directive by the UCC Executive Director,
Godfrey Mutabazi to 13 media houses to suspend 39 staff including news managers
and producers for alleged breach of the minimum broadcasting standards.
According to Kakooza,
now is the time to engage all stakeholders gainfully on the type of media that
Uganda wants. He argues that most media houses in Uganda are giving more space
to entertainment, music, comedy and sports and that media owners and managers
want to play safe for fear of the repercussions.
He stresses the need
to have a good understanding of the media and the type of regulations the
//Cue in: “I think it’s time to engage…
Cue out: …this media can grow.”//
Although UCC had
accused media practitioners of breaching the minimum broadcasting standards
because of the live coverage of Bobi Wine protests, Kakooza insists that this
is part of local content, which shouldn’t be restricted.
He observes that once
there is media literacy from across government units and society, it will help
media in growing content.
//Cue in: “It will help us…
Cue out: …free press.”//
Dr. Kakooza believes
that there was no consultative process leading to the drafting of the minimum
“I think in coming up with these standards, there should have been a
consultative process between the media owners, producers, editors because these
are the people that actually deal with production and dissemination of content
on a day-to-day basis and they reflect what is happening in society. So you
just sit and come up with such standards,” Dr. Kakooza.
He contends that citizens look at UCC as an alien body trying to implement
things they don’t understand.
//Cue in: “But even if the standards…
Cue out: …don’t understand anyway.”//
Kakooza observes that the current standoff between UCC and media houses is a
result of lack of a media council, which would be directly in charge of the
“Most of the time UCC is playing catch up, yes, it’s playing catch up and I
think sometimes it doesn’t know what needs to be done,” Kakooza observes.
He contends for instance that it would have been different having a media
person at the helm of the regulatory body as they would be able to understand
how the industry operates.