Uganda’s communications regulator, UCC, has ordered nearly two dozen radio stations to be taken off the air over what it calls “lack of minimum broadcasting standards.”
The directive to shut down 23 stations has sent shockwaves in the broadcast industry.
Pamela Ankunda, a spokesperson for the UCC, told The EastAfrican that the decision was taken after the stations ignored incessant warnings against advertising and promoting witchcraft.
The commission makes reference the public notice of 27th March 2014…where all broadcasters were warned against advertising and promoting witchcraft.
The commission has noted with concern that despite these several warnings your undertaking not to advertise and promote witchcraft…and the public outcry against such misuse of the airwaves, your station has continued to advertise and promote witchcraft in contravention of section 2 of the witchcraft act,” states a letter from the commission.
The regulator also accused the stations of aiding and abetting fraud by allowing fraudsters to use their airwaves to con people through promotion of healing powers.
East African News confirms that Ms Ankunda said the stations will resume broadcasts if they comply with the broadcasting standards.
Uganda has a vibrant FM radio segment, with more than 270 radio stations on air. The stiff competition for a limited advertising pool has left many broadcasters with little option but to accept advertising from whoever can walk into the studio with some money.
Some of these advertisers are herbalists and sellers of lucky charms, the practice the regulator has interpreted as promotion of witchcraft and fraud.
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