Local musicians and filmmakers have asked the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to implement the local content law.
According to the 2006 Broadcasting Policy, local content refers to content which recognizes the culture and linguistic diversity of Uganda. It carries themes of relevance to the local audience and is produced under Uganda’s creative control. One of UCC’s minimum broadcasting standards calls for 70 per cent of all content to be local.
But the artists say that Ugandan TV stations are still airing more foreign films mostly from India, Philippines and Venezuela as opposed to products that promote Ugandan culture and values. They argue that UCC’s failure to implement the law has left many of them with no avenues to exhibit their works.
The artiste’s made the call during the celebration to mark the Global Anti-Piracy Day in Kampala.
Jane Nambaswa, the Chief Executive Officer Uganda Federation of Movie Industry says the film industry is suffering due to weak laws and lack of goodwill by the governing authorities to address the challenges.
Matia Ssali, a film director at Jupiter Film Productions says that a lot of money is put into film production yet most of the films do not make it to local television stations. He says this is killing the movie industry.
But television station managers argue that although the artists have a strong case, the quality of their productions is still wanting. Joe Kigozi, the spokesperson of NBS Television says that often times; the production costs affect the consistency of local productions.
However, according to UCC, there has been an increase in the amount of local content shown on local television stations from 25 per cent in 2012 to 58 per cent in 2018. Ibrahim Bbosa, the Senior Public Relations Officer of UCC says that the amount of local content has improved greatly over the years although the cost of airing local productions is sometimes higher than foreign content.
The cost of local series range from 20-25 million Shillings, while foreign series can be secured at as little as three million Shillings.
The artiste’s also called upon the government and all respected stakeholders to implement the anti-piracy law. According to the artists, the law has not been implemented which has made the industry less profitable than it should be.
Nambaswa says that many times, actors are left stranded with copies of films due to piracy.
Gen. Elly Kayanja, who was recently commissioned by President Yoweri Museveni to enforce the Copyright and Neighboring Rights Act, told the artists that piracy will soon be ‘a thing of the past’.
“Anyone caught breaking this law will be held to book. We are not going to favour anyone. If you know that you are out there dealing in pirated films, music or even books, stop because you will face the law.”