As the final deadline for radio owners to submit new license applications draws closer, the Uganda communications Commission -UCC has issued a warning that there wouldn’t be leniency for any stakeholder who will fail to heed to the call to apply for new licenses.
Ibrahim Bbosa, the UCC spokesperson told Uganda Radio Network -URN in an interview, that all radio broadcasters in Uganda are required to submit fresh applications for radio broadcasting licenses of their choice by July 31, 2020, and failure to do so, the frequencies will be revoked for reassignment to serious operators.
Bbosa explains that the licensing framework for radio broadcasting was revised following the need to do away with regulation measures that seemed to be out of touch compared to the new realities of broadcasting in Uganda.
He further said that the revised framework provides for new different license fees for commercial and communal broadcasting services and also provides for a five-year license as opposed to the previous one which was only valid for one year.
He emphasized that although the process of reapplying requires quite a lengthy period of time, UCC only needs broadcasters to express intent to retain their frequencies by writing to the commission before the deadline of 31st July.
Bbosa also revealed that the new licensing framework intends to fight the vice of masqueraders who acquire frequencies with an aim of vending them hence keeping them dormant for long.
Under the new system, broadcasters will only be given 6 months of the trial to ensure that their frequencies are consistently operational and failure to maintain that requirement, the license will be withdrawn.
The National Association of Broadcasters -NAB Secretary-general Bill Tibingana told URN in a phone interview that they are in support of the new system being implemented by UCC urging NAB members to comply and help the commission with the aspect of self-regulation.
He however appealed to UCC to consider revising the deadline because the process is tedious, costly, and hard to pull off by many of the broadcasters in the country who would wish to comply.
He requested for at least an extension of three months for all broadcasters to be able to gather resources to apply for the new licenses.