UCC asks Radio Broadcasters to submit fresh license applications

Uganda Communications Commission, the government regulatory body of communications sector in Uganda have asked all radio broadcasters in Uganda to submit fresh applications for radio broadcasting licenses of their choice following revision of the licencing framework.

According to the statement made by Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), the revised regime reclassifies radio broadcasting services into two categories: commercial broadcasting services and communal broadcasting services. The new regime also introduces a license for online radio broadcasters. The new regime provides for a 5 year commercial and communal broadcasting license as opposed to the previous one, which was only valid for one year. Online radio broadcasters, on the other hand are to be granted authorization for 1 year.

Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo, UCC Ag. Executive Director  said in a brief to all radio broadcasters early this month that the changes will take effect on July 31, 2020

A communal broadcasting license is to be granted on condition that the applicant is:

  • A community-based Organization
  • A registered Non-Governmental Organization
  • A social or cultural Organization
  • A local community
  • A special interest group

The statement also directed that a community broadcasting license holder shall not be allowed to own more than one frequency, operate in more than one locality or engage in commercial broadcasting services.

To facilitate a seamless transition to the new framework, Ms Kaggwa wrote, “all existing radio broadcasters are accordingly invited to submit an application for the radio broadcasting license they wish to hold under the new licensing regime.” However, existing operators will not be charged license application fees and initial entry fees for the respective licenses. They will only pay for the applicable license fees.

Existing radio broadcasters who also wish to convert their licenses from commercial to communal license category will be required to express this intention in their application and submit information demonstrating eligibility for new license.

In her brief, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) Executive Director reminded radio broadcasters that “possession of a valid license issued in accordance with Section 27 of the Act is a prerequisite for the grant of rights to use radio frequency spectrum.”

Accordingly, only holders of licenses issued in accordance with this new licensing framework shall be allowed to operate beyond July 31, 2020.


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