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The Ministry of Information, Communication, Technology (ICT) and National Guidance is engaging parliament to introduce the Information and Communications Bill, 2022, to address gaps and overlaps in the laws governing the communications and media sector in Uganda.
The Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Ms Amirah Zawedde says once approved, the bill will, among others, harmonise and strengthen the regulatory provisions in the existing laws; repeal the Press and Journalists Act Cap. 105, the Stage Plays and Public Entertainment Act Cap. 49 and amend, the Data Protection and Privacy Act 2019.
“The bill will provide for regulation and management of media and content and that will cure the proposals raised in Nsereko’s bill,” she told parliament’s committee on ICT last week.
The new bill is hinged on the following principles
- Merge the regulatory functions of Uganda Communications Commission, the Media Council and NITA-U into a converged/single regulator for the Information and Communications Sector
- Provide for the categories of licenses and authorizations in the ICT sector which shall include infrastructure, services and combined licenses
- Provide for issuance of a national operator license(s) in respect of telephony; broadcast, content & media, postal
- Detail classes of services exempt from the requirement of a communications license for performance of defined official functions of the state [military, police, emergency, certain transport elements [aviation, railways etc.]
- Create a class of operators; public operators, established and funded by Government to serve specific public service needs in the communications sector
- Certain Infrastructure to vest in government.
- Strengthen the institutional, legal and regulatory frameworks for effective delivery of information and communications services
- Provide for adequate funding to finance, regulate, and develop the Sector
- Enhance the role of the Uganda Institute for Information and Communications Technology as a center for excellence and specialized capacity building for the manpower needs of the sector.
- Provide for the regulation of emerging areas in information and communications services and markets
- Provide for powers of the Regulator to manage cyber security and containing a national and communications emergency
- Detail new framework to regulate postal and courier services
- Provide for regulation and management of media and content
- Provide for the regulation of collaboration/coordination with other sectors in management of Information and Communications infrastructure services and resources
- Provide for consumer protection & empowerment
- Provide for dispute resolution mechanisms
- Providing for the oversight roles of the Minister in the ICT sector
- Provide for new offences and deterrent penalties
- Provide for the making of regulations to be issued under the Act