Media regulator, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), has put a total of 108 radio stations across the country on notice over non-compliance with a new licensing framework for broadcasters.
UCC, whose Executive Director is Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo, directed all radio stations to comply with the new broadcasting license framework. This would mean applying for licenses under the new framework. These licenses would be issued after payment of fees under the new framework.
As opposed to the previous framework where licenses would last a year, the new licenses would last five years.
Under the new licensing regime, stations under Tier One, which consists of National Radios, pay annual fees of Shs7m.
Under Tier Two, comprising stations in the Kampala Region, a radio station pays Shs5.6m.
Each radio under Tier Three, consisting of radios in regional cities, pays Shs4.2m.
Under Tier Four which comprises radios in the rest of the country, each station pays Shs3.5m.
The annual fee for a community radio is Shs1.4m.
According to sections 26 and 27 of the UCC Act, any person who installs, operates or provides broadcasting services in Uganda without a license issued by the Commission commits an offence.
Yet, even when the directors of these 108 radio stations are aware of the consequences of such sections of the law, they are yet to comply.
UCC says it has reminded the radio stations to meet their obligations and comply with the law but the directors have not done the needful.
The ED Kaggwa-led Commission has now announced the deadline within which the stations should comply or face closure. All radios which will not have satisfied pending licensing requirements, including obtaining new licenses by August 31, 2022 will have their frequency assignments withdrawn starting September 05, according to a statement attributed to the Commission.
To avoid the switch-off scenario, UCC has urged radio station directors to use the available time to resolve the issue at hand. The Commission has also invited the bosses of these stations for meetings with its officials next week.