Uganda Communications Commission has directed that the programme ‘World Express’ on Endigyito Radio remain suspended until management satisfactorily demonstrates that it will not continue to breach the law and standards.
In her letter dated 20 May 2020, the Ag. Executive Director Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo said the remedial measures proposed by Endigyito Radio so far are not adequate to justify the lifting of the suspension.
“The Commission, therefore, directs that the programme ‘World Express’ shall remain suspended until such a time when Endigyito FM Limited shall submit satisfactory written procedures and measures to ensure that the said programme will not continue to breach the law, standards and conditions,” Ms Kaggwa Sewankambo wrote.
The Commission has been engaging the radio station, which is based in western Uganda, since March 2020 when complaints from some members of the public about the content of one of its programmes led to its suspension.
Several meetings were held with the management of the radio station, in some instances including Mr James Kasiirivu, the show-host, during which Endigyito Radio was cautioned and continuously reminded to comply with their legal obligations.
Notwithstanding this engagement, the Ag. Executive Director noted in one of her several letters on the matter dated 27 April 2020, that “Endigyito Radio has failed in its duty to ensure that its employees, presenters and producers of programmes comply with the law and the license terms and conditions.”
She added that owing to the repeated failure and/or refusal by the radio station to ensure that the ‘World Express’ programme is “balanced, unbiased and clearly distinguishes between facts, opinions and comment,” the Commission has found Endigyito Radio liable to regulatory sanctions.
Invoking sections 6(1)(d), 41(2)(b)of the Uganda Communications Act 2013 and Item (k)(19) of the General Notice No. 977 of 2017, the Commission directed the immediate suspension of the said programme.
The suspension is to remain in place “until such time as Endigyito Radio shall submit documented procedures and measures put in place to ensure that the said programme will not breach the law, standards, the license terms and conditions to the satisfaction of the Commission.”
In addition, a fine of USD 260 was imposed “for non-compliance with the Minimum Broadcasting Standards contrary to section 31 and schedule 4 of the Uganda Communications Act 2013.”
Endigyito Radio has paid the fine and proposed changes to its ‘World Express’ programme but the Commission maintains that the measures so far taken are inadequate.