Communications regulator, UCC has instructed media house, Daily Monitor to halt publishing content on their website until they get the green light from the commission. This followed a recent story that was published on the website that linked the speaker of parliament Rebecca Kadaga to witchcraft activities.
The story told a story of Rebecca acquiring and failing to pay for services from a witch doctor over 20 years ago. The speaker states that the Daily Monitor published the story on its online portal with intention to hurt her reputation.
In the suspension letter from UCC, Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi accused the website of non-compliance for failure to register with the regulator as per last year’s directive which instructed all online publishers to register. The commission has been battling fake news for quite some time and in August 2018, it directed all providers of online data communication services to register and gain authorization from UCC.
Daily Monitor under Investigation
UCC noted an increase in the incidences of fake publications on the digital platforms where people deliberately post unverified content to misinform and mislead the public. It is therefore in this regard that one of the leading websites in Uganda has been instructed not to publish any new content as the commission conducts an investigation into the matter.
Daily Monitor website will be put under investigation to ascertain whether or not the story about the speaker was published “in accordance with the expected minimum standards and codes of ethics of journalism. They will also answer why the website is not registered with the commission yet it continues to publish news.
We saw the commission suspend a Spark TV program, producer and presenterlast year.
Inside the suspension letter to Daily Monitor
In order to avoid a recurrence of similar breaches during the investigations, the Commission hereby directs that Monitor Publications should immediately SUSPEND any further provision of online data communications services (online newspaper services) until Monitor Publication has applied for and obtained the requisite authorization from the Commission in accordance with law and the Commission’s earlier public directives.UCC ED, Godfrey Mutabazi
That Monitor Publication should within five (5) days from the date hereof submit to the Commission written representations regarding the subject story about the Hon. Speaker of Parliament, including the basis for the publication and why Monitor ignored/and failed to balance the subject story by seeking to obtain the complainant’s side of the story before publication of the same.UCC ED, Godfrey Mutabazi
Please note that should Monitor Publications Limited fail/or otherwise refuse to comply with any of the above directives, the Commission shall proceed to determine this compliant and may issue any regulatory sanctions in accordance with Section 41 of the Uganda Communications Act, 2013.UCC ED, Godfrey Mutabazi