The six radio stations, including Hot FM and Millenium Community Radio were allegedly running operations without licences, per Uganda’s Communications Act.

Uganda has shut down six radio stations after the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) discovered that they have been broadcasting content without licences. This is against Uganda’s communications laws detailed in the Uganda Communications Act, 2013. Per legislation, it is illegal for anyone to transmit content without obtaining a broadcasting license authorised by the UCC. 

Those who violate this law may face a fine of up to twenty-five currency points. In Uganda, the value of one currency point is set by the finance ministry and is used as a reference point for calculating fines. For this violation, it means that the fine could be calculated based on the current value of a currency point, and the total fine would be 25 times that value. Alternatively, the affected stations may be imprisonment for a maximum of one year, or both.

“Notice of closure is hereby issued to the owners and management of the radio stations for repeated failure to obtain a valid broadcasting license from the Commission,” the UCC said in a statement.

The affected radio stations are Divine Partners, Hot FM, Millenium Community Radio, Salt & Light Christian City Church, Mgahinga Investments, and Welsto Company Limited. 

According to the Communications Act 2013, setting up and running TV or radio stations is regulated by the Uganda Communications Act 2013. To do so, a player needs a licence from the UCC, which considers factors like technical facilities, station location, social impact, and environmental assessment. Breaking this rule is an offence punishable, with corporate bodies’ representatives also held liable.

The Act grants the right to broadcast but requires responsibility. It prohibits actions to prevent broadcasting, except when authorised by the law. Compliance with laws against explicit content and privacy invasion is also stipulated in the law. Licence holders and producers must ensure broadcasts follow public morality and keep records for at least sixty days, maintaining broadcasting standards and values. 

Have you got your tickets to TechCabal’s Moonshot Conference? Click here to do so now!

Get the best African tech newsletters in your inbox