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Speaker directs ICT Committee to look into broadcasters’ petition

The Independent NEWS

Speaker Among

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Parliament has tasked its Committee on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and National Guidance to consider a petition by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) regarding a directive by the President ring-fencing all government advertisements for Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) and New Vision platforms.

During the Thursday plenary sitting, Speaker Anita Among informed the House that she had received the petition from NAB, which expressed concerns about the government’s policy of channeling business solely to government-owned media houses.

On July 12th, 2023, the Secretary to the Treasury, Ramathan Ggoobi, reinforced President Yoweri Museveni’s directive through a budget call circular that allocated an annual budget of 30 billion Shillings to UBC. However, in response to the directive, NAB, representing various radio and television broadcasters, decided to boycott all government activities.

Their main contention was that the government’s decision deprived them of the opportunity to benefit from government adverts, and they demanded that the directive be reversed. Adding to the pressure on the matter, Opposition MPs, led by the Shadow Minister for Information and Anti-Corruption, Joyce Bagala Ntwatwa, expressed their support for NAB’s stance.

They likened the government’s directive to a previous one that ring-fenced infrastructure contracts for the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) Engineering Brigade, resulting in stalled public projects.