COMPLIANCE ENFORCEMENT ON RADIO STATIONS

THE COMMISSION’S COMPLIANCE ENFORCEMENT ON RADIO STATIONS

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) is undertaking a nationwide enforcement exercise on radio stations for noncompliance with terms and condition of the license.

Section 39 of the Uganda Communications Act of 2013 provides for the terms and conditions of a license. The license is a document that spells out the legal relationship between the Licensor (UCC) and the licensee (Communications Operator) spelling out the legal obligations of both parties.

One of the terms and conditions of the license is that the licensee must ensure technical and financial compliance to the provisions set in the license.

Technical parameters mainly refer to the day to day operations and installations of the licensee while financial compliance refers to the requirement to pay the requisite license, spectrum and levy fees.

The Commission in ensuring compliance may execute one of its functions as spelt out in Section 6 of the Act. These powers include but are not limited to:

  1. Imposition of a fine on a person who unlawfully possesses, installs, connects or operates any communications equipment or apparatus or unlawfully provides or performs any communications services; and
  2. Confiscation of any apparatus which is possessed, installed, connected or operated unlawfully.

During routine monitoring and inspection, it was noted and brought to the attention of the Commission that many of the radio broadcasting operators are both technically and financially non-compliant with the terms and conditions of their license.

As a result, the Commission carried out enforcement and exercised its powers under Section 6 of the Act. The enforcement exercise is still ongoing an more than 50 radio stations across the Country are on the enforcement list. The Eastern region has been covered, and the same activity is continuing in the Western and Northern part of the country.

Once equipment has been confiscated, the licensees are advised to report to the Commission and rectify all their areas of non-compliance before the equipment can be returned to the licensee.

Radio stations that are not compliant with the financial requirements of their licence are advised to seek clearance with the Commission to avoid shut down by the Commission’s enforcement team. This is important because a reconnection fee is payable before any confiscated equipment is returned.

Other avenues for enforcement against repeated and serious breach of the license terms and conditions include:

  1. Suspension of license;
  2. Revocation of license and withdrawal of spectrum; and
  3. Naming and shaming of licensees.

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