BROADCASTING STANDARDS IN UGANDA

 

OBJECTIVES OF THE BROADCASTING STANDARDS

  • To promote responsible broadcasting
  • To protect viewers and reduce undue offence and harm.
  • To facilitate Broadcasting that caters for the diversity of tastes and interest.
  • To promote impartiality and accuracy
  • To guide to broadcasters about matters falling within the scope of the standards.

PRINCIPLES BEHIND THE STANDARDS

There are seven principles behind all these standards;

  1. Respect for Community standards
  2. Importance of Context
  3. Protection from Harm
  4. Protection of Children
  5. Respect for persons and Groups in Society
  6. Protection of Public interest
  7. Respect of Privacy

BROADCASTING STANDARDS & CODES

  1. Minimum Broadcasting Standards
  2. Code of Practise for Broadcasting
  3. General Programming standards
  4. Religious Programming
  5. Advertising Standards
  6. Guidelines for Live coverage of events
Standards for General Broadcast Programming in Uganda

MINIMUM BROADCASTING STANDARDS

Section 31: Schedule 4 of the Uganda Communications ACT; A broadcaster or video Operator shall ensure that;-

A) Any programme which is broadcast;

  1. Is not contrary to public morality,
  2. Doesn’t promote the culture of violence or ethnical prejudice among the public, especially the children and the youth.
  3. In case of a news broadcast, is free from distortion of facts;
  4. Is not likely to create public insecurity or violence,
  5. Is in compliance with the existing law.

B) Programmes that are broadcast are balanced to ensure harmony in such programmes

C) Adult-oriented programmes are appropriately scheduled

D) Where a programme that is broadcast is with respect to a contender for a public office, that each contender is given an equal opportunity on such a programme

E) Where a broadcast relates to national security, the contents of the broadcast are verified before broadcasting

OBSERVANCE OF GOOD TASTE AND DECENCY

  1. Broadcaster’s content should be desirable to the public, and it shouldn’t be offensive.
  2. Offensive language carries a broad application and could be tied to social, political or religious sensitivities which could be distasteful to the public or select communities
  3. The language used in children’s programs should be appropriate and not involve the use of foul language.

PRINCIPLE OF IMPARTIALITY, NEUTRALITY AND ACCURACY

When discussing controversial issues/viewpoints in programs such as current affairs, news of public importance, reasonable efforts should be made, or reasonable opportunities given, to or in other consequent programmes.

This does not mean that points of views and opinions cannot be aired, but that it is incumbent upon the broadcaster to ensure that opposing views are heard and that the broadcasting service is not itself partial to any particular view.

MAINTENANCE OF LAW AND ORDER

The broadcasters should be mindful of the standards that are consistent with the maintenance of community and national law and order. The programs should not glamorise criminal activity or portray anti-social behaviour such as violent crime, abuse of liquor. Caution should be exercised in portraying the copying/imitation of criminal acts.

HUMAN RIGHTS

Respect the Rights to Freedoms

The right to respect for the individual’s private and family life, his or her home and his or her correspondences; The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;

The right to freedom of expression.

It shall be noted however that the right to freedom of expression is not absolute and must be exercised with consideration to principles of public interest and privacy.

NEWS REPORTING

Significant mistakes in the news should be acknowledged and corrected on the same channel at the first available opportunity and should be appropriately scheduled. News should be presented accurately; News should be presented in such a way as not to create public panic or unnecessary distress to reasonable listeners; News is distinguished from comment, and Material relating to a person’s private affairs is not aired unless there is a public interest in broadcasting such information.

PRIVACY OF THE INDIVIDUAL

Section 28 2(b) prohibits any broadcasting which infringes upon the privacy of any individual

Sex and Nudity

Traditional and cultural norms of the Ugandan society generally get offended by content that displays sex and nudity. Therefore the portrayal of sexual behaviour and that of nudity needs to be contextualised and scheduled appropriately with consideration of watershed hours.

The right to privacy may be overridden by legitimate public interest. This may be in the interests of national security, public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for protection of morals, or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others

PROTECTION OF CHILDREN’S INTERESTS

Broadcasting material that might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of children must not be broadcast. Children must also be protected by appropriate scheduling of content that is unsuitable for them.

VIOLENCE

Violence whether verbal or physical must be appropriately limited in programmes broadcast before the watershed (in the case of television) or when children are particularly likely to be listening and must also be justified by the context. Broadcasters should avoid any material which judged, should not be within the context that: Contains gratuitous violence in any form, i.e. violence which does not play an integral role in developing the plot, character or theme of the material as a whole; Sanctions, promotes or glamorises violence in general or violence against women.

FAIRNESS

Broadcasters should be fair to any persons or an organisation when allegations are made, such person or representative from an organisation should be given a fair opportunity to respond. Care should be exercised when editing programs to ensure that the original or intended message is not distorted.

The broadcasters should at all-time avoid discrimination against any section of the community. It is crucial to ensure that programmes do not broadcast material – including the views of interviewees or programme guests – which discriminate against people, for example on the grounds of race, age, nationality, religion, sex or occupations status. This standard is not intended to prevent the broadcast programmes on legitimate, humour or drama

CLASSIFICATION SYMBOLS

Classification symbols should be used at the beginning of each program and after an advert has been run. Warnings should be considered when program content is likely to offend or disturb a significant number of the intended audience.

G – General, PG- Parental Guidance, 16+- suitable to 16 18+ – suitable for 18, SVL- Sex, Violence, Language

STANDARD FOR BROADCASTING RELIGIOUS PROGRAMMING

Matters pertaining to religion are sensitive and capable of evoking strong passion and emotions. Broadcasters should exercise due caution when featuring the views, beliefs, practices, or activities of religious groups. Standards are therefore necessary to protect listeners and viewers from the failure of the broadcaster to exercise and display responsibility for the faith-based content they broadcast.

These standards are guided by the following principles;

  1. To ensure that broadcasters exercise the proper degree of responsibility with respect to the content of religious programmes and their unintended consequences.
  2. To ensure that religious programmes do not involve any exploitation of audience susceptibilities and circumstances.
  3. To ensure that religious programmes do not involve any abusive treatment of the religious views and beliefs of those belonging to different religious persuasions, i.e. they should aim to uphold the freedom of religious belief enshrined in the Uganda Constitution.

Standards for Religious Broadcast Programming

ADVERTISING STANDARDS

The Advertisement should be; Legal, Honest, Truthful and Decent,

Advertising should not be;

Misleading; Fraudulent; Harmful; Offensive; Exploitative Socially irresponsible; Against the basic principles of fair competition; Contain misrepresentations whether intended or otherwise; These broad principles shall apply regardless of the product/service/ message/idea being advertised and broadcasters should ensure that advertisements do not impinge on the editorial integrity of broadcasts. Advertising Standards

Uganda Communications Commission; UCC House; Plot 42-44 Spring Road, Bugolobi; P. O. Box 7376, Kampala; Phone: +256-41-4339000, +256-31-2339000; Toll-Free: 0800 222 777; Email: ucc@ucc.co.ug, Website: http://www.ucc.co.ug

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