Merger of the Broadcasting Council and the Uganda Communications Commissions

Telecoms

The Uganda Communications Commission and the Broadcasting Council have been merged into one regulatory body that will oversee both communication and broadcasting matters in the country.

The new policy directive issued on 15 March was communicated by the Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Aggrey Awori, and published in the Uganda Gazette.

A body headed by the current chairperson of the Broadcasting Council, Godfrey Mutabazi, will be set up to manage the transition.

It will be overseen by a board comprising members from the two boards of the merging organisations, which will be headed by the current head of the Communications Commission, A.M.S. Katahoire.

Under the new framework, the ICT ministry will also take over the management of the national spectrum (airwaves) and the transmission infrastructure from the Ministry of Information and National Guidance.

According to the directive, the transitional body will be merged at both the board and administrative levels.

"The primary role of the transitional board and executive shall be to oversee and conclude the process of drafting a new law and establishing the merged regulator for both communications and broadcasting in accordance with best practices and international standards," the directive said.

Awori mandated the transitional body to form working committees for the efficient discharge of its duties.

"While the board will oversee the process of merging the two regulators, it will also continue to carry out the functions specified in the Uganda Communications Act and the Electronic Media Act of 1997.

"Where the functions require specific focus, pertaining to communications, the members who were commissioners under the UCC may constitute themselves into a communications committee to handle the matter and keep the board updated," the directive says.

Where the matter pertains to broadcasting, the directive added, members who belonged to the Broadcasting Council would constitute a broadcasting committee to deal with the issues and update the board.

"The Broadcasting Council and the Uganda Communications Commission are instructed to work out the administrative details of the new structure," it further said.

"The transitional body shall continue to carry out the functions of the two regulators until the functions of the merged regulator are provided for by the new law," it said.

The two laws shall continue to exist and provide the regulatory framework for the transitional merger until a new converged legislation is enacted.

"The Uganda Communications Commission and the Broadcasting Council may conclude the details of this arrangement through a memorandum of understanding on the modalities of the day-to-day operations," the directive said.

The New Vision