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UCC criticized over ban on village radios

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UCC criticized over ban on village radios

UCC Executive Director Godffrey Mutabazi

UCC Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi

Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has come under criticism for banning village broadcasters popularly known as Bizindalo that village leaders say are used for mobilization purposes.

The UCC ban has attracted criticism from across the political divide, with many saying the ban will harm mobilization and communication efforts especially at the village levels where no alternative means exist.

Kira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemuju Nganda (FDC) is one those who have expressed dismay at the ban. He told The Sunrise that UCC is trying to find easy targets to cover up for alleged failures in executing what he calls their mandate.

“I find it very unfortunate and I am challenging the cabinet ministers Frank Tumwebaze and Aidah Nantaba in charge of ICT to come out and tell us what harm those village radios cause to justify the ban.”

He instead advised UCC to come in and regulate the centers in terms of the time of their operation, and the volume of sound to avoid possible excesses.

Nganda is supported by renowned social critic Frank Gashumba who called upon Kampala Division mayors and the Lord Mayor of Kampala City Erias Lukwago to join him and drag UCC to court seeking to overturn the ban UCC recently slapped on these village communication centers.

Gashumba argues that the communication outlets have lately become handy in community mobilization, and are effective information dissemination channels which should therefore be allowed to continue in operation.

“We can’t allow ourselves to watch as UCC is slowly turning itself into another God.  In the first place, there are no people complaining about them (the Bizindalo) as UCC is falsely claiming that there are numerous complaints on the matter.”

UCC claims that the said Communication outlets have lately become a public nuisance and they accuse their operators blaring music in the wee hours of the night, coupled with the fact that they also run public announcements which UCC says are a preserve of other media whose operation licenses allow them to do so.

Ggomba East Member legislator Emanuel Kalule Ssengo also disagrees with UCC. Ssengo has advised the communication industry regulator to consider charging them (operators of those centers) a minimal fee on top of training and licensing them.

” If UCC  is concerned about the small announcements that are aired on these gadgets, it is unfortunate because it offers a very flimsy ground for shutting them down.”

Efforts to get comments from The Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago or UCC’s Spokesperson Fred Otunu were futile.

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