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UCC to register Online media publishers
UCC moves to regulate online media publishers. Photo by Flash Uganda Media

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) urges all Online media publishers, influencers and Bloggers to obtain authorisation before they operate

The Uganda Communications Commission has called on all online data communication service providers, including online media publishers, online news platforms, online radio and television operators to apply and obtain authorization from the Commission before starting their operations.

According to UCC, authorization from the Commission is required for the provision of any service that involves communicating to the public. 

Also, any communication service to the public informed of any content, whether by way of audio, video, sound, still or moving pictures or a combination is subject to the regulatory control of the Commission.

Appropriately, it has warned that enforcement activities may be applied to deal with all non-compliant providers of online data communication services, and this may entail directing Internet Service Providers (ISP) to block access to such websites and/or streams.

As an organization, UCC is mandated to oversee all communication services in the country through setting standards and enforcing laws against non- compliant providers.

UCC 2013 Act for Online media publishers

About the 2013 UCC Act, under section 6 (a) all individuals or organizations require authorisation from the Commission for them to access online data communication services.

Under Section 5, the Commission is mandated to monitor, inspect, license, supervise, control and regulate all communications services.

Meanwhile, Section 4 indicates that the Commission is in charge of regulating communication services in the country including telecommunications, radio, television, broadcasting and postal and courier services.

Appropriately, Section 2 of the Act defines ‘Communications services’ to mean services consisting of the dissemination or interchange of audio, visual or data content using postal radio or telecommunications media, data communication and includes broadcasting. ‘Content’ is defined to include “any sound, text, still picture, moving picture or other audiovisual representation, tactile representation or any combination of the proceeding which is capable of being created, manipulated, stored, retrieved or communicated electronically”, and ‘data’ is defined to mean the electronic representation of information in any form.

Terms and Conditions

The Authorised Entity undertakes to abide at all times to the provisions of the Uganda Communications Act 2013 and all other laws in Uganda.

The Authorised Entity shall ensure full and extensive disclosure of the shareholding and financial structures as provided in the application form and shall ensure that this status is adhered to throughout the authorisation period.

The Authorised Entity shall ensure content uniformity between the online version and any print versions of the content that may be printed in its Newspaper.

The Authorisation shall be restricted to only the Authorised Entity stated herein and shall not be transferred except with prior written consent of the Commission.

The Authorised Entity undertakes to ensure that all employees are given contracts of employment specifying the terms and conditions of their employment.

The Authorised Entity undertakes to ensure that all that is broadcast on its website or any other online electronic platform conforms with the laws of Uganda, the code of conduct for broadcasters, the Minimum broadcasting standards and the code of ethics of journalists.

The Authorised Entity shall have a public interest obligation to ensure pluralism in the provision of news, views and information, giving wide and enlighten choices to citizens and contribute significantly to an effective and vibrant democracy provide a balanced and wide variety of points of view on matters of public concern;

It will also ensure that it contributes to the development of pro-social values by providing content of specific interest to all ethnic groups, gender, and persons with disabilities accurately and fairly;

The Authorised Entity undertakes to ensure that any content which is broadcast on its platform(s)-

(a) is not contrary to public morality;

(b) doesn’t promote the culture of violence or ethnical prejudice among the public;

(c) is free from distortion of facts;

(d) is not likely to create public insecurity or violence;

(e) complies with all the existing laws;

(f) is not pornographic in nature;

The Authorised Entity undertakes to make all it’s content available to the Commission immediately on demand.

The Commission may as well cancel this Authorisation by notice in writing for breach of any of the above provisions in which case the Authorised Entity thereupon will immediately cease offering its online publishing services.

By John Dalton Kigozi