Uganda: NTV Back On Air?

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Nation TV Uganda has announced that it will resume its broadcast, three months after it was switched off. General manager Victor Ngei said in a press statement that they had ironed out their differences with the Broadcasting Council. "NTV's return to transmission follows a memorandum of understanding with the council in which technical issues that resulted to its closure will be resolved amicably in a specified period," the statement read.

But the Broadcasting Council denied it had cleared the station to resume its operations. When contacted yesterday, the chairman, Godfrey Mutabazi, said they were still in discussions with NTV. "Nothing has been signed yet. We hope that there will be a positive solution soon. We are getting closer to an understanding. We are meeting them on Monday," Mutabazi said.

The station was put off air by the Broadcasting Council on grounds that some of its broadcasting equipment did not meet the industry's technical standards. The council also claimed the 150m mast belonging to the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation, which NTV is renting, is overburdened.

The Parliament early this month passed a motion urging the Government to resolve the technical and administrative issues surrounding NTV and have the station back on air as soon as possible.

NTV is part the Nation Media Group, which also owns the Daily Monitor newspaper and KFM radio. The parliamentary committee on presidential affairs last month also investigated the closure of the television station. NTV Uganda went on air on December 18, 2006, ahead of a planned official launch in February 2007.

New Vision Kampala, 29th April 2007