By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: The national communications regulator Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has issued a statement warning all broadcasters that intend to conduct live election broadcasts directing them not to broadcast riotous scenes.
The Commission’s Executive Director Ms, Irene Sewankambo says that the directive is based on fear of inciting violence something that may destabilize the country’s security.
Read UCC’s Full Statement Below;
“GUIDANCE TO THE MEDIA ON COVERAGE OF THE 2021 GENERAL ELECTIONS
Uganda Communications Commission (the Commission) is mandated to, among others, monitor, inspect, license, supervise, control and regulate communication services and operations in Uganda.
As we come to the climax of the 2021 Elections, the Commission reminds all broadcasters of the following obligations during coverage of the General Elections:-
1. All coverage of election campaigns including political advertisement shall cease on 12th January 2021 at 23:59 hours in accordance with sections 45(1) of the Presidential Elections Act, 2005 and 44(1) of the Parliamentary Act, 2005.
For the avoidance of doubt, this deadline includes:
a. Broadcast of any material that is likely to influence voters to vote for or against any candidate.
b. Broadcast of any opinion polls.
2. In accordance with section 57(1) of the Presidential Elections Act, 2005 and 58(1) of the Parliamentary Elections Act, 2005, only election results declared by the Electoral Commission (through officially designated officers at the designated levels) should be broadcast.
3. No broadcaster should feature live broadcasts of riots or any such event likely to promote violence. For other broadcasts of live events, the broadcaster must adhere to all relevant requirements and guidelines issued by the Commission in respect to the live broadcasts including, but not limited to;
a. The Best Practice Guidelines for Electronic Media Broadcasters for Coverage and Broadcast of Live Events, and
b. Regulation 21 of the Uganda Communications (Content) Regulations, 2019.
4. Broadcasters shall comply with the provisions of sections 45(2) the Presidential Elections Act, 2005 and 44(2) of the Parliamentary Elections Act, 2005. In this respect, there should be no live coverage of interviews of persons wearing party attire or uniforms after the closure of campaigns.
5. All media houses should ensure that all their staff engaged in the elections are duly briefed on and comply with the relevant obligations, standards, code of practice, and any associated requirements.
6. Broadcasters should have in place policies that guide the use, operation and update of their online, social media platforms.
7. The above is applicable to all mediums used to broadcast/disseminate information Media practitioners are invited to continue their contribution to the peaceful and successful conclusion of the Election Process while promoting harmony and peaceful coexistence in society.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo
Ag. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR”