Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has ordered the closure of Kanungu FM radio station in Kanungu district over what officials described as “breach” of minimum broadcasting standards.
In a letter signed by UCC executive director Eng Godfrey Mutabazi and seen by this website, Kanungu FM, 95.4 MHz, has been faulted over ignoring UCC directives and continuing to broadcast programmes subject to investigations.
The station managers are also accused of refusing to provide to the commission recordings of the programmes in question.
Mutabazi ordered: “In light of the above, the Commission has, in exercise of its powers under Section 6 (2), decided to order Kanungu FM to immediately shutdown its broadcasting operations and the Commission has accordingly confiscated Kanungu FM’s broadcast apparatus.”
He further warned of dire consequences should the station resume broadcasting operations without rectifying the above breaches and obtaining a valid broadcasting license.
UCC has in the recent past been criticized for succumbing to pressure from government to crackdown on independent media houses.
Earlier, Eng Mutabazi ordered the suspension of station Manager, Ronalds Agaba aka Mwene Ngaro and Desmond Kyokwijuka Misri, the host of the Global Focus program and anchor of Rukiga news over breach of broadcasting standards.
UCC standards require a holder of a license under Section 29 to ensure that what is broadcast isn’t contrary to public morality and must retain record of all broadcast content for not less than 60 days.
Eng. Mutabazi said the Commission received numerous complaints that the two were fueling violence using the radio station that belongs to wealthy businessman and former FDC diehard Garuga Musinguzi.
He stressed that all broadcast programs are required to comply with the minimum broadcasting standards, which are spelt out under Section 31, Schedule 4 of the UCC Act.
This, among others, requires that the program isn’t contrary to public morality and doesn’t promote violence or ethnic prejudice, especially among children and youths.
Furthermore, according to Mutabazi, Kanungu FM has continued to “illegally broadcast beyond expiry of its license in spite of having been reminded to renew it vide the commission’s letter dated April 5, 2017.”
The station proprietor, Garuga, could not be reached for a comment by the time of filing this story.