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UCC tasks Online publishers to register for licenses or face closure

A team of online media proprietors and reporters attending yesterday's media engagement with UCC in Bugolobi

Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has called upon all online media platforms owners to register with UCC or face closure of their sites by the regulator. The call was made by various UCC speakers during a one day engagement meeting with online media houses proprietors, held at the UCC Head office in Bugolobi yesterday.

Mr.Nyombi Thembo, UCC Executive Director, said the media regulator is not intending to suffocate online media practitioners but to put in place regulations to control and guide online news flow.

He cited hate speech, pornography and offensive online communication as being part of the reason UCC is requiring all online platforms to register their businesses.

“Registration also helps online media houses proprietors to get adverts from Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs)”, he said.

Mr. Nyombi said online media owners should be professional in their news dissemination on their sites; by balancing their story sources and to refrain from taking sides or being biased when reporting, especially on politics.

“Online writers should be professional and widely knowledgeable in the subject matter they intend to put out for public consumption”, he added.

The Officials from Uganda communications Commission interact with the online publishers

Mr. Abudu Waiswa Sallam, UCC Head of Legal Affairs, said there are over 200 media online platforms in the country, yet only three online content providers and 35 valid online data providers are registered.

Mr. Waiswa said the registration fee for online media house is UGX 100,000 ($USD 27) annually. He called on non-registered online media houses to ensure they register their online platforms as soon as possible, or else face closure by the regulator.

“ According to Technopedia, “New Media” is all websites and online platforms that come up due to Innovation and Technology”, he said, adding that; it’s the major reason UCC is to register all online media platforms and shut down those that will not comply.

Under the Computer Misuse (Amendment) Act 2022, there are several offenses for which illegal online providers can be charged e.g. Section 26A on hate speech, which provides that a person who writes, sends or shares any information through a computer which is likely to ridicule, degrade, or demean another person as well as create division among persons, a tribe, an ethnicity, a religion or gender commits an offense and is liable to a fine not exceeding 750 currency points (15Million) or imprisonment not exceeding 7 years or both.

Derek Kanalo
the authorDerek Kanalo
News Reporter/ Editor
Am a professionally trained and well skilled media personality. Accuracy is part of my top priority as a journalist.