Zuku drags Bukedde TV to court over contract

Regulation & Policy

The growth in the television industry registered in the last five years has seen players battle to have a share of the increasingly lucrative market.  Wananchi alleges that the contract locks out other players from hosting Bukedde Tv on their networks.

Pay television provider, Wanachi Group Uganda has sued Bukedde TV for allegedly violating what they described as ‘fair competition and equality of treatment.’

Wananchi operating under the Zuku brand alleges that Bukedde TV, a local broadcaster signed an exclusive contract with MultiChoice Uganda despite being a free-to-air channel.

“…On December 2011, without any authorisation under any law and without the plaintiff breaching any terms or broadcasting standards, the accused company prevented/blocked the Bukedde Television channel from airing on the plaintiff’s Zuku TV,” reads part of the complaint filed through Muwema and Mugerwa Advocates.

According to the complaint filed before the Commercial Division of the High Court, the suit is brought to determine the rights and obligations of the parties on the facts in light that the Bukedde signal cannot be carried on Zuku TV.
It is alleged that the act of preventing the plaintiff from receiving and carrying the controversial signal is in abuse of a dominant market position, discriminatory, unlawful and against public policy.

Uganda’s Tv market has witnessed competition intensify over the past five years with more players battling to get a share of the local market.

Meanwhile, court has summoned the defendant (New Vision Printing & Publishing Company) to file their defence within 15 days.

According to the complaint, Bukedde TV is a free-to-Air Channel meaning that it is a non-subscription based broadcast allowing any person with appropriate receiving equipment to access, view the irrespective of whether it is distributed via terrestrial broadcasting.

“The defendant’s Bukedde Television enjoys a dominant position in the television broadcasting sector by virtue of its access to formerly state owned technologies, broadcast infrastructure and state funding and is prohibited under Uganda Communications Act from engaging in any activities unfairly preventing competition or equality of treatment,” reads the complaint.