Uganda’s Television Stations at risk of being closed by UCC if they ignore Local Content Directive


Unlike us with online media, that can get away with lots of sourced content, the UCC seems not to be in agreement with the local television stations that will not comply with the Uganda Communications Commission’s directive. They released a directive of having at least 70% local content aired during prime time risk being switched off come January, 2014. The Regulator’s Executive director Godfrey Mutabazi,made the none-bluffing remarks while attending a session on film financing on the next-to-last day of the five-day Uganda Film festival organized by UCC in Kampala last week.

Local content is poor quality

According to the Independent, Mutabazi was prompted to make the remark after learning from MargaretMathore, a content buyer for Multichoice’s Africa Magic channels–a South African cable company– that during the course of 2012, over 60movies were bought from Uganda and showcased on Africa Magic’s eight channels. Mutabazi who thought of Mathore’s information as refreshing also found it confusing considering that a day earlier; he had been told [by Local television executives] that the local television channels were not interested in buying local content because it was of poor quality. However, the local film makers told Mutabazi that the issue was not quality, but rather, the local television stations do not want to pay for the local content.

Strictly 70% local content

Early this year, UCC the regulator directed local television broadcasters to prioritize local content over foreign content in a move aimed at promoting national identity and culture. UCC said free to air television licensees must ensure that an average of 70% of its programming during primetime (6PM–11PM) consists of Ugandan content. Of the 70% content required by UCC, 50% must feature drama, comedy and reality show programs, while 10% should be reserved for local documentary programs, 5% for sports and 5% for children’s programs. “Come January, if the 70% of local content is not on local television, we shall close them down,” Mutabazi said. Remove taxes on filming equipment He told the local filmmakers that the UCC’s film festival was the start of a long journey in which the government is going to work closely with them to boost the industry. Mutabazi added that UCC was working to waive taxes on filming equipment just like a waiver was put on broadcast equipment. He also promised the local film makers, financial support with effect from the next financial year (2013/2014). He said within UCC’s