Radio ownership and its impact on political speech in Uganda

The question of who owns the media has in recent years become a growing subject of debate and contention in Uganda. The need to address this question gained greater urgency during the 2011 elections as it emerged that access to radio, in particular, appeared to be influenced by political considerations rather more explicitly than at other times and in previous elections. While this is a long-suspected trend in state-owned media and in the nominally public broadcasting sector, the concern now is that the same trend seems to have developed among privately-owned radio stations.

The foremost objective of this exploratory study was to establish whether political considerations, in whatever form, have come into play in the award of broadcast licences or allocation of frequencies and in decisions to grant or deny different interested parties time on air. If this is the case: What is the extent of the alleged practices? What form do they take? Under what circumstances have the claims of discrimination emerged? Who is affected? What are the ramifications? What are the implications for media freedom and democracy in general? This study inquired into the claims of political discrimination in accessing radio time by eliciting concrete evidence and verifying the claims.

This study was conducted and authored by George W. Lugalambi (Ph.D), Bernard Tabaire, and Peter Nyanzi. The project was supervised by Peter G. Mwesige (Ph.D).

Download the report here: “The views expressed must represent those of management” – Radio ownership and its impact on political speech in Uganda

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