The Speaker of Parliament, Anita Annet Among, confirmed receipt of a petition from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and referred it to the Committee on ICT and National Guidance for consideration.
The petition protests government’s directive instructing government offices to only advertise with Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) and Vision Group platforms.
In a circular issued by the Permanent Secretary and Secretary to the Treasury, Ramathan Ggoobi, on Monday, 10 July 2023, all government advertising must be through the UBC and Vision Group. UBC has several television and radio stations while Vision has several television and radio stations and newspapers.
Private broadcasters, however, say the move blocks them from benefitting from government advertising and have since announced a boycott of coverage of government activities until the directive is reversed.
The government has been the biggest source of advertising revenue for media houses in the country. Blocking this advertising relationship means the media houses will be starved of this revenue and survival.
In a related development, the Speaker also referred a petition from the Uganda Manufacturing Association (UMA) regarding the sugar sector to the Committee on Trade.
“The petition regards the challenges affecting the efficiency and effectiveness of the sugar sector mainly arising from regulatory weaknesses on the part of the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives,” Among said.
The tasks upon the committees are in line with Rules 30 (5) and (10) of the Rules of Procedure of Parliament.
On Tuesday while addressing journalists about the cabinet’s decisions, Dr Chris Baryomunsi the Minister in charge of ICT and National Guidance asked the private media houses to stop their blackmail of boycotting government activities.
This came after the Uganda Editors’ Guild announced a boycott of government press briefings in protest against the directive of government to only advertise with UBC and the Vision Group.
Baryomunsi highlighted that ever since the government liberalized the media in Uganda, it’s the private media houses that benefit more from the government.
President Museveni on March 6, 2023, issued a directive that all government advertising should be channelled solely through UBC and Vision Group for print media.