Unwanted Witness petitions speaker of Parliament over amendments to the Communications Act.

Kampala, 2/March/2017; Unwanted Witness and Center for Law and Development, have petitioned the speaker of Parliament, Hon. Rebecca Kadaga challenging Bill No. 2 of the proposed amendments to the communications Act.

In an open letter to the speaker and copied to the chairperson, ICT committee, Hon. Mary Turyahikayo, Bill No. 2 is criticized for its failure to sufficiently guarantee the independence of the main regulatory body, Uganda Communications Commission.

“Rather than working to build greater independent oversight into the system, to promote media diversity and to put in place an appropriate system for regulation of broadcast content, Bill No. 2 threatens to weaken parliamentary control over broadcasting by removing the requirement that regulations made under section 93 of the Act be approved by parliament.” Reads part of the petition.

The petitioners further urge that the amendment violates international human rights law, which guarantees protection of regulatory bodies against interference from or control by government or any ministry.

The petitioners thus implore Parliament to undertake a full review of the entire Communications Act other than concentrating on the proposed amendments, which is deemed a threat to diversity of the media and independent oversight role into the system by Parliament.