UCC WEEKLY REVIEW

UFF returns with a bang

With the Uganda Film Festival less than two weeks away, the official nominations list came out last week and, as expected, the excitement is palpable. The nominees’ list, which was published in New Vision and Daily Monitor last Friday, can also be found on the UCC web site (ucc.co.ug) as well as the Commission’s social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter). The climax is the awards gala on 29th November 2019.  

One nominee who couldn’t hide his excitement is Edy Kasawuli. He tweeted: “Can’t express how happy I am to be nominated in the Uganda Film Festival Awards for Best Cinematography for the movie ‘Country of Men’.” Other actors nominated in his category are; Okurut ‘Nego’ Paul for the movie Lailah, Donald Mugisha for N.S.I.W.E and Kenneth Mugerwa for August.

The annual Uganda Film Festival was established by the Commission in 2013 to stimulate the domestic film industry to enable it achieve its full potential as a source of employment, revenue, and to preserve culture through local content. It has since grown into one of the most significant events on the Ugandan social calendar.

Leading up to the gala, the UFF has organised training workshops to empower film industry actors. The workshops, which are to be held from 25th – 27th November, include one on audience building and crowdfunding to be facilitated by Berlin-based film and new media expert Paul Rieth. Paul has organised film festivals, worked as a film journalist, founded a film production company and produced several short films.

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Telecoms get a new licensing framework

A new framework for the licensing of telecommunications companies in Uganda is here. The framework, which is in line with the new broadband policy, was launched during a half-day event at the Commission’s offices in Bugolobi. Explaining the rationale of the framework to the top executives of telecoms, the UCC Executive Director Mr Godfrey Mutabazi noted that the last such review was conducted in 2016. Mr Mutabazi said the new framework, which has been arrived at after a protracted process, will boost investment in the sector and ultimately improve the quality of telecommunications services.

The Commission’s Head of Legal Abudu Sallam Waiswa who led the presentation said the new framework aims to ease market entry and enhance competition, intensify the rollout of broadband Internet, encourage local ownership of telecom services and promote effective utilisation of available resources. Highlights of the new framework include a requirement for national telecom operators to float at least 20% of the shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange within two years of acquiring the new license.

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UCC, telecoms in Lango drive

Telecom service providers joined UCC in taking services closer to the people of Lango with an outreach programme targeting schools, markets and other public spaces. The 10-day campaign saw UCC’s Consumer Affairs staff, in partnership with MTN, Airtel and UTL, engage local communities and raise awareness about their respective services. The outreach team visited schools, markets and interacted with local leaders.

At Lango College and St Katherine SS in Lira, UCC staff on a Youth in ICT drive engaged the students in lively discussions on emerging developments in the sector, the Fourth Revolution, child online protection, cybersecurity and Internet misuse, among other issues. Both schools are beneficiaries of the Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF) school connectivity programme through which up to 1,000 secondary schools have been equipped with modern computer labs to boost ICT teaching and learning.

Besides visiting schools and technical colleges in the sub-region, the field outreach teams also engaged the masses in consumer help camps that took place in markets such as Chwegere, Amuge and others in the districts of Alebtong, Oyam, Dokolo and Lira.

On 15th November, the awareness campaign will climax with the “consumer parliament”, during which the Commission, telecom service providers, the public and other stakeholders will engage on issues pertaining to the communications sector.

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Britain, UCC support journalists

The British High Commission, African Centre for Media Excellence (ACME) and UCC came together to support a two-day journalists’ training programme. Opened by High Commissioner Peter West, the training initiative focused on media rights, responsibilities and ethics.

The Commission, whose mandate is to promote the development of the communications sector in Uganda, welcomed the joint efforts of its partners.

“We are particularly pleased with the efforts of the British High Commission in collaboration with the African Centre for Media Excellence building capacity of media,” UCC tweeted.

The Commission reiterated that its mandate is in keeping with the constitutionally enshrined rights to freedom of speech and all other rights associated with broadcasters.

Addressing the criticism that UCC undermines freedom of speech, the regulator explained that the Broadcasting Standards set out under the law are aimed at ensuring that in exercising their rights, broadcasters do not infringe upon the rights of others, break the law or compromise national security (public interest).

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ED demands ethics in technology

Technology is good, but consumers must not get a raw deal. That was the gist of the UCC Executive Director Mr Godfrey Mutabazi’s message as he called for responsible data management systems to protect consumers from risks associated with financial technology.

In a keynote address at the two-day Africa Financial Technology Festival at Kampala Serena Hotel last week, Mr Mutabazi explained that while data fuels the digital economy, it can be abused, something the Commission is mandated to prevent.

The Fintechs Festival, which was organised by Financial Sector Deepening Uganda (FSDU) and Financial Technology Service Providers Association of Uganda (FITSPA), aims to cultivate inclusive platforms through which financial technology can thrive as it supports the growth of the digital economy in Africa.

The annual event attracted financial technology actors, regulators, policymakers, bankers and other stakeholders from several African countries.

In his presentation, Mr Mutabazi noted that as technological advancements disrupt existing norms and enhance competencies at an unprecedented rate, such change comes with opportunities for innovation and growth. But UCC has a duty to ensure that financial technology grows and thrives without doing so at the expense of the consumer, he said.

Over two days, the festival engaged in critical debates on issues ranging from consumer protection, disruption of savings, credit, insurance to game-changing business models.   

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