• Ssemujju Lewis E

Online Media Content Creators To Acquire Publication License In Uganda

Bloggers and social media content creators in Uganda will be required to obtain USD 97 permits by 5th October.

In Uganda, YouTubers, podcasters, and other social media users now need to obtain authorization from the Ugandan Communications Communications (UCC) before publishing any content online.

According to a notice released by the regulator, the new directive will be enforced from October 5, 2020. It will apply to all communications services in Uganda including radio, television, and online broadcasting channels like blogs, YouTube, podcasts, VOD platforms and several others.

Apparently, these guidelines are not new. The regulator first released a similar notice in March 2018 and stated that it would be enforced the following month. In 2019, it increased the pressure on online platforms to get registered.

They were required to obtain a licence that would cost $20 (74,012 Ugandan shillings) to continue operation, but this time the figure is set at $97 (100,000 Ugandan shillings).

While the previous notice vaguely specified what it meant by online platforms, the recent one clearly spells them out for the avoidance of doubt. The UCC says 48 broadcasters have registered so far, and it’s encouraging others to do so too.

Recall that in 2018 the Ugandan government, arguing that people needed to pay for “online gossip”, enforced a daily social media tax of UGX200 ($0.05). Following that move, the UCC reported that Internet subscriptions dropped by 2.5 million in three months.

Uganda’s Internet subscriptions at the end of July 2018 when the tax was imposed stood at 16 million, up by a whopping 63% from 9.8 million recorded in the preceding month.

A huge drop to 13.5 million subscriptions came in that quarter — July – September 2018 — but that was when the numbers stopped decreasing. By Q4 2018, the numbers rose by 5.8% to 14.3 million Internet subscriptions.

Since then, the numbers have grown gradually. By the end of 2019, Uganda recorded almost 17 million subscriptions, and between January and March 2020, this number increased to 18.8 million.

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