UCC invites creative industry players to dialogue over new regulations

Ibrahim Bbosa
UCC Spokesperson Ibrahim Bbosa during an interview.

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has asked those opposed to the regulation of creative industry, which includes the film, documentaries and Commercial Still Photography and Stage Plays and Public Entertainments Rules to engage with the regulatory body instead of wasting time expressing discontent in the media.

The Uganda Communications (Film And Commercial Still Photography) Regulations S.I No.79 of 2019 provide the licensing of film production, producer, content for film or documentary and license for commercial still photography and prohibited content among other issues. The regulation also bars anyone from engaging in film, motion picture production or commercial still photography without a license from UCC.

The objective of the regulations is to regulate matters relating to content under the Act; and define the functions of the Contents Committee. While the Stage Plays And Public Entertainments Rules, S.I No.80 of 2019 provides for the powers and functions of the Commission under the Stage Plays and Public Entertainments Act, permits, advertisement of stage plays and public entertainment and withdrawal of permits.

The regulations were published in the Gazette on November 8th 2019. The regulations have drawn outrage from the creative industry players. Phillip Owere alias Baron Phillip, the National Mobilizer of Uganda Musician Association (UMA), says artists believe the regulations were prompted by their colleagues who are joining politics on the so called “wrong side”.

He says they have already mobilized UMA members to defy the regulations, which they believe will increase the exploitation of their members and allow government to crack down on those with critical works against government interests.

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However, the UCC Spokesperson, Ibrahim Bbosa says those opposing the regulations and questioning UCC mandate to regulate the creative industry are misinformed. He says the Broadcasting Council that was mandated with enforcing the 1943 stage plays and public entertainment act cap 49 was merged with UCC in 2013. 

He explained that the 2013 communications mandates UCC to oversee and regulate the entertainment industry. According to Bbosa, the main problem in their view is that most of the stakeholders have failed to interpret the regulations, something which the Commission intends to address through public sensitization meetings.

He dismisses claims that the regulation was introduced to curtail some people whose work is critical of government.