Media Council of Uganda Region

FUNCTIONS

The Council has the following functions:-

++ To regulate the conduct and promote good ethical standards and discipline of journalists.
++ To arbitrate disputes between the public and the media; and the State and the media; and the 18 Regions (13 + 5) and the media.
++ Film classification

EDITORS REGISTRATION PROCESS

Media Council is conducting Editors registration update for all Mass Media organizations under Section 5 Press & Journalists Act, Cap. 105.

Particulars Prescribed by the Council to be submitted to the Secretary

PRESS ACCREDITATION

Section 29 (1) Press and Journalist Act 1995 provides that ;
No person being an employee of a foreign mass media organisation or working as a freelancer for that mass media shall practise journalism in Uganda unless he or she is in possession of an accreditation card issued by the council.

About Media Council

The Media Council was established by the Press and Journalist Act; of 1995 and charged with the regulation of the Mass Media. The objective of the Law is to ensure the freedom of the press and to establish to regulate the mass media and arbitrate any disputes with in or relatede to the industry. and arbitrate any dispute within or related to the industry.

Under article 10(1) of the Press and Journalist Act 1995 Cap 105, the Council has the following functions:-

  1. To regulate the conduct and promote good ethical standards and discipline of journalists.
  2. To arbitrate disputes between the public and the media; and the State and the media.
  3. To exercise disciplinary control over journalist, editors and publishers.
  4. To promote generally the flow of information.
  5. To censor films, videotapes plays and other related apparatuses for public consumption.
  6. To exercise any function that may be authorized or required by law.
  7. The council is further empowered to accredit foreign journalists who intend to carry out any act of journalism in Uganda.

Membership is drawn from members of the public with an impeccable record; National Union of Journalist of Uganda (NIJU), Newspaper proprietors and Editors Association UNEPA; the Electronic media; the Law Society and Scholars.

The Council tries its best to work hand in hand with its sister organizations namely the Broadcasting Council and the Communication commission. The media is an essential element of modern society because it’s through a free media that the organs of the state i.e. the executive, the legislature and the judiciary can be subjected to scrutiny. It is because of this scrutiny that they become responsive to society for which they are established.

The media being a watchdog function for the public it promotes democratization, accountability and good governance among other positive and patriotic values. The media being part of society has also a big responsibility to it. This is particularly important in a country like Uganda where on one hand freedom of the press is guaranteed by the national Constitution and on the other hand the democratization process is fragile and in its infancy. This is more so as the country transitions into a multi-party political system.

The Disciplinary/Arbitration Committee is established under the Press Journalist Statute 1995 one of its functions is to exercise disciplinary control over journalist, editors and publishers and to arbitrate disputes between the public and the media and the state and the media.

The Committee consists of:-

  1. The Chairman of the Council as its chairman
  2. The Secretary of the Council as its Secretary
  3. Four Members elected by the Council from amongst themselves

Our specialization

Mass Media Regulation
Press Freedom advocacy
Journalist Disciplinary Control
Film Classification

Media Council Regulations

Media Council of Uganda is set to be be more effective with the New Regulations under the Press and Journalist Act, Cap. 105.

The Regulations signed by Minister of Information and National Guidance Hon. Namayanja rose Nsereko were gazetted on 10th February 2014 in a bid to make the Council more effective and improve on the Professional conduct of Journalists and Mass Media practitioners.

The Press and Journalist (Amendment of fourth Schedule) 2014 No.4, is a Statutory Instrument addressing the professional code of ethics is one of the new regulations. This categorically states it application:

“This professional code of ethics applies to all persons practicing journalism and for the purposes of this code a person practises journalism if he or she is paid for the gathering, processing, publication or dissemination of information; and such person includes a freelance journalist.”

The same instruments outline other areas that were missing in the Schedule of 1995 when the Act was enacted by Parliament to address the changing media environment. These include among others, publication of Grotesque and gruesome pictures, obscene publications, intrusion into grief or shock, protection of children, victims of sexual assault among others.

The Press and Journalist (Fees) Regulations. 2014, Statutory Instruments 2014 N0.4 is the second set of the new regulations. This regulation spells out the fees specified in the Schedule that shall be paid in respect of the matters they relate to in thePress and Journalists Act, Cap. 105.

Since 1995 when the law was put in place, these are the first regulations put in place to enable enforcement of the Act. The Press and Journalist Act gives powers to the Minister by section 42 and section 40 (3) to make regulations in consultation with the Council.

ACTS

Press & Journalists Fees
Press & Journalists Fourth Schedule
Access to Information Act 2005
Access to Information (commencement) Instrument 2006
Access to Information Regulations 2007
Access to Information Act (ATIA) – Information Manual Guidelines
Access “Media Regulations in Uganda with regard to Integration” How the Uganda Media Council works and the challenges it faces
Guidelines for the Censorship/Classification for Film, Video, Plays and Other Related Apparatuses : Page 1
Guidelines for the Censorship/Classification for Film, Video, Plays and Other Related Apparatuses : Page 2
Guidelines for the Censorship/Classification for Film, Video, Plays and Other Related Apparatuses : Page 3
The Press and Journalist act 1994
Electronic Media Act 1996

Press Accreditation

Section 29 (1) Press and Journalist Act 1995 provides that ;
No person being an employee of a foreign mass media organization or working as a freelancer for that mass media shall practice journalism in Uganda unless he or she is in possession of an accreditation card issued by the council.

Section 29 (2) states that ;

The accreditation card referred to in his section shall be issued upon payment of fees and upon such terms as may be prescribed by the council.
The Media Council works hand in hand with Media Center on matters of accreditation of foreign journalists. This therefore means that accreditation forms can be acquired from either Media Council or Media Centre offices.

There is however no harm if the journalists use either the Media Centre or the Media Council as their first point of contact.
Press accreditation process is considered complete at the Media Council offices after payment of the prescribed fees and issuance of an accreditation card.

PROCEDURE:
(ii) A letter from an employer to the Secretary Media Council stating the purpose of visit.
(II) Passport size photograph. Can be attached physically or electronically.
(III) Form G is filled stating the particulars of the applicant.

(IV) On approval by the Secretary a fee of $175 Dollars per person is paid for a period not exceeding 30 days. Beyond 30 days up to 1 year of stay $225 Dollars per person is paid. Refer to New Regulations on fees as per gazette.

(V) Payment can be made at the Media Council offices in Kampala (in case of emergency) or the money can be wired to our Account.

Account name: Media Council
Barclays Bank (Uganda) Ltd.
Plot No.16
Kampala Rd.

7 Account No. 1419662
Swift code-BARCUGKX-

(VI) A press accreditation card/permit is issued to the applicant to complete the process.
(VII) physical Address:
Media Council
Postel Building, Kampala
Clement Hill Road, 6th Floor-Rm. 7 and 14

Postal Address
Media Council
P.O. Box 23780
Kampala

Contact Person
Secretary Media Council (Mr. Pius Mwinganisa)
Tel: 041-254908/0772-517014
Fax: 041230367
Email: secretary@mediacouncil.ug, mpiusug@yahoo.com

Other Council Nos:
041376771, 0772517014

Benefits of Ac### creditation

  1. Helps in professionalization in journalism.
  2. It helps journalists to access information by allowing participation in conferences, workshops, training and other gatherings.
  3. It enhances the protection of the rights and privileges of journalists in the performance of their duties.

Eligibility for Accreditation

The following cadre of people are eligible for accreditation;

Cases

Any person aggrieved by any publication or media organization may make a written complaint to the Media Council of Uganda setting out the grounds for the complaint and the remedy sought.

This law was enacted in 1995 by the National Resistance Council that acted as the National Assembly of the Republic of Uganda. In 2000, it was proclaimed an Act of Parliament. Its commencement on 28 July 1995 repealed the Newspaper and
Publications Act Cap 305 and the Press Censorship and Correction Act Cap 306 both of which were colonial laws.

The promoters of The Press and Journalist Act in 1995 argued that it was intended to professionalize journalism just like the legal and the medical profession by creating structures and processes through which one can become a journalist and practice journalism as a profession. According to the promoters, the law was to make the practice of journalism better, get rid of the ‘quacks’ and make it a preserve for the educated.

The preamble of the Act partly provides that “An Act to ensure freedom of the press…” however, the content and provisions of the law unjustifiably restrict freedom of expression which include the freedom of the press and pose a seriousnthreat to the right to seek, receive and impart information.

The Act is a danger to the right to communication which is guaranteed by the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda. It criminalizes practice of journalism without a practicing certificate issued by a statutory body under the control of the minister of Information; it conscripts journalists into one association and sets an onerous process of enrolling as a journalist before receiving a practicing certificate. The law defines a journalist as ‘a person who has enrolled as journalist under the law’.

Open Cases

Col. Elly Kayanja Vs. The Red Pepper
Col. Elly Kayanja Vs. The Daily Monitor
Ms. Karitas Karisimbi Vs. The Red Pepper
Pastor Martin Ssempa Vs. The Mirror Newspaper
Government / State Vs. Blake Lambert
Pastor Martin Ssempa Vs. The Red Pepper
Hon. Zake Wanume Kibedi Vs. The Red Pepper
The State Vs. Black Mamba
The Red Pepper vs. ICRC
The State vs. Tabloid Mamba
The State Vs. The Red Pepper Newspaper & Red Pepper Publications
The State Vs. The Weekly Observer Newspaper & The Observer Media Ltd
Vaginal Monologue
Shiffa Nabanja V Bukedde

Procedure

Preliminary

One is required to fill out Complaint Form 1, available at the Media Council secretariat and on its website, setting out the grounds for the complaint, nature of the injury or damage suffered and the remedy sought.

The complaint should be made within Nine (9) months from the date of the publication or other action.

Upon receipt of a complaint, the Complaints Commission shall notify, in writing, the party against whom the complaint has been made, within fourteen-days of receipt of the complaint, stating the nature of the complaint, the breach of act or omission complained of and the date on which the matter shall be considered by the Commission.

The notice referred shall require the person against whom the complaint is made to respond to the complaint in writing or appear before it at the hearing of the complaint.

After considering each party’s submissions, the Commission shall then conduct a preliminary assessment to determine the admissibility or otherwise of the complaints lodged within fourteen days.

After undertaking a preliminary assessment of the Matter the Commission and being of the opinion that the complaint is devoid of merit or substance, dismiss such complaint with reasons.

Mediation

Where the Commission considers there is a breach of the Act or Code it may facilitate an early resolution of the complaint by a referral to an inter parties mediation process within fourteen days.

The mediation process shall be voluntary, private and confidential.

Hearing

Where the mediation fails or the parties or either of them objects to any mediation efforts, the Commission shall set down the complaint for a full hearing.

After hearing a complaint, the Commission may issue any decision as it deems appropriate and give directions in connection with the compla

Resolved Cases

Col. Elly Kayanja Vs. The Daily Monitor
Ms. Karitas Karisimbi Vs. The Red Pepper
Pastor Martin Ssempa Vs. The Mirror Newspaper
Government / State Vs. Blake Lambert
Pastor Martin Ssempa Vs. The Red Pepper
Hon. Zake Wanume Kibedi Vs. The Red Pepper

Registration

Media Council is conducting Editors registration update for all Mass Media organizations under Section 5 Press & Journalists Act, Cap. 105.
Particulars Prescribed by the Council to be submitted to the Secretary are:

  1. Provide details in relation to the Editor by filling form MCOU FORM 1 (download here)
  2. Provide details of the Editorial Staff as prescribed by the Council by filling form MCOU FORM 2 (download here)
  3. Make payments to the bank () for registration of Editors of 10,000 as per the

The Press and Journalists (Fees) Regulations 2014.

Account name: Media Council
Barclays Bank (Uganda) Ltd.
Plot No.16
Kampala Rd.

Account No. 1419662
Swift code-BARCUGKX-

  1. Submit all filled forms and relevant documents stated in the forms and confirmation of payment document to the Secretary Media Council.

Council Members

No Names Representing Press & Journalist Act 1995 Position
1 Mr Paul Ekochu Electronic Media Section 8(d) (ii) Chairperson
2 Dr Katebalirwe Amooti Wa Irumba Scholars Section 8(b) Member
3 Mr. Michael Kawooya Mwebe Electronic Media Section 8(d) (ii) Member
4 Ms Linda Nabusayi Wamboga National Institute of Journalists of Uganda (NIJU) Section 8(d) (ii) Member
5 Mr Okello Jabweri Peter National Institute of Journalists of Uganda (NIJU) Section 8(d) (ii) Member
6 Mrs Assumpta Kemigisha
Sebunya Uganda Law Society Section 8(f) Member
7 Mr Venis Omona Public (not being a Journalist) Section 8(e) (i) Member
8 Mr. Pius Mwinganisa Directorate of Information Section 8(a) Secretary
9 VACANT Uganda Newspapers, Editors and Proprietors Association (UNEPA) Section 8(c) VACANT
10 VACANT Uganda Newspapers, Editors and Proprietors Association (UNEPA Section 8(e) (ii) VACANT
11 VACANT Public (not being a Journalist) Section 8(e) (i) VACANT
12 VACANT Scholars Section 8(b) VACANT

Electronic Media

TV Station

  1. East African Television
  2. Independent Television
  3. Capital Television
  4. Bukedde TV
  5. Wavah Broadcasting Service (WBS
  6. NTV
  7. Sports TV
  8. Light House TV

Radio Station

  1. Radio One
  2. Radio Two (Akaboozi)
  3. East African Radio
  4. Vision Voice FM
  5. Etop
  6. Bukedde Radio
  7. Radio West
  8. Rupiny
  9. Kagadi Kibaale Community Radio
  10. Sanyu FM 2000 Ltd
  11. Capital FM
  12. Beat FM
  13. Rock FM
  14. Power FM
  15. Dembe FM 2004 Ltd
  16. Radio Pacis
  17. Transnile Broadcasting Service
  18. Radio Kitara
  19. 92.4 Luo FM
  20. Voice of Lango FM Ltd
  21. Radio Simba
  22. Hot 100

Contact

Location:
Postel Building 11th Floor Rm. 13
Clement Hill Road
P.O. Box 23780 Kampala
Email: secretary@mediacouncil.ug

FAQ

1. When do I need to get an age rating for my work?

Video works (Films, TV programmes, Music videos, Trailers, Adverts/ posters , etc) which are to be released locally or imported into Uganda need to be rated. All videos issued with an age rating under Media Council are also automatically issued with a digital age rating that can be used on digital video services.

2. What can/can’t I submit?

You can submit video works on DVD /VCD or Blu-ray. Please note the content needs to be the same as the version that will be released to the public.

3. How do I submit?

In order to submit a work, please make an entry on our website by downloading an application form or visit our offices on communications house, Colville Street, 3rd floor suite 305 to pick one.

4. How much does it cost?

1. Local films (0-120min) …………..UGX 150,000
2. Foreign films (0-120min) ………. USD 150
3. Each additional minute (Local films) ………UGX 2,000
4. Each additional minute (Foreign films)……. USD 5
5. Classification Certificate (Local films) …………UGX 20,000
6. Classification Certificate (Foreign films) …………USD 50
7. Re-classification fees
8. Cancellation or withdrawal or works fees
9. Reactivate title withdrawn fees
10. Interpreter fees
11. Advertising on the Media council website fees
12. Uploading a trailer on the Media council website fees
13. Express classification fees

Note: All works will be received upon receipt of payment. Payment made in cheques will take a little bit longer as your work will be accepted only when the cheque clears

5. Is there anything else I need to consider? YES

i) Format: All works must be submitted on DVD or VCD (3 Copies) It should be noted that each DVD must be a complete film in its own right. Media council will take into account the fact that each item of packaging is a separate entity and therefore has a separate context.
ii) Cinema: Cinema staff should schedule for previews before screening their films
iii) Affidavit: Proof that the work you’re submitting is actually yours
iv) Copyright: Confirmation of authorization to use other peoples works in a given product
v) Synopsis: A three line summary of your video work(s)
vi) Designed DVD Jackets: It should bear the title of the film, brief synopsis, year of production, the director and other relevant technical crew, name of distributor and the format.(Works wrapped in polythene bags or sleeves or works that are not well labeled will not be accepted as this format does not support our filing /storage system)
vii) Publicity material/posters: All publicity material must be submitted for classification
viii) Trailer: Each film must be submitted with a trailer.
ix) Classification labels: Each rated film must carry a classification rating label approved by Media Council

6. Who decides if a work is exempt from classification?

Ultimately only a court may decide. Meanwhile decisions as to whether a work falls into one of the exempt categories or includes material that loses the exemption can only be made by the distributor or supplier. Media council’s role is purely to rate works submitted to it. Media council has no authority to make any decision about whether submitted works could be exempt.

7. Does it matter if I submit a work to Media council which might be exempt?

No. Media council will accept submissions of material which may be exempt. Exempt works are sometimes rated because the distributor prefers a rating. Our categories and symbols are familiar and trusted by the public and enjoy the support of the law.

8. What about works already classified elsewhere or shown on TV?

Once transferred to a disc, magnetic tape or any other device capable of storing data electronically for distribution or broadcasting, works are considered to be different from the same material broadcast on television. TV regulation is different from classification regulation, and, by law, a new decision has to be made. Any classification decisions made anywhere else in the world are similarly irrelevant. It has also to be borne in mind that the version for release as a video work may not always be the same as that shown on TV here or seen in other countries.

9. What happens if a work which should be classified is not?

Law enforcers are there to do their job. Their role is to visit stores and inspect the stock and to check that no unclassified works are being sold or rented and that all other details of relevant legislation are being observed. They are entitled to take an ‘exempt’ work from a shop if they doubt its exempt status. If, on inspecting that work, they reach the conclusion that it should have been classified, the distributor could be prosecuted.

10. Can I be exempted from paying for classification Fees ?

Even if a work itself is not exempt, it is possible that its supply is. An exempt supply is one which is neither ‘a supply for reward’ nor ‘in the course or furtherance of a business’. So, if there is no reward (eg exchange of money) associated in any way with the transaction, and as long as the supply is entirely unrelated to any business activity, the supply could be considered exempt.
This would not be the case, for instance, if videos were being lent or given away to attract customers to a shop, even one whose actual business was unrelated to video.
There are other circumstances in which a supply can be considered exempt, such as the record of an event which is to be circulated only to those connected with the event – e.g. a wedding video, festival/exhibition, government and embassy/mission agency works e.g awareness programs Further advice on exempt video works may be obtained from our offices.

11. Labelling

For DVD packaging, the rating symbol must be shown on one of the largest faces (normally front cover), the spine (except if it is less than 2cm) and on another of the largest faces or another face other than the spine which includes the explanatory statement within a rectangle (normally back cover).

12. General Guidelines

Areas to avoid or to treat with care while submitting a film
• Sexual violence and threats of sexual violence
• Juxtaposition of nudity and violence
• Strong and realistic threats to defenseless victims
• Torture
• Excessive gore
• Details of strong violence
• Excessive blood – especially on real, contemporary weapons
• Glamorisation of real, contemporary weapons or acts such as drug abuse
• Overt sexual activity – homosexuality
• Vulgar nudity
• Strong sexual references
• Text that promises brutality, torture, sexual violence, or humiliation, exploitation of children
• Content that abuses or compromises national security and generally acceptable social norms

13. Law enforcement

Media council is not an enforcement agency but we would be failing in our duty as a semistatutory body responsible for classification if we took no action in relation to instances which had come to our attention, regarding the illegal supply of video works.
Trading Standards and law enforcement officers have the power to seize illegal video works including, but not limited to, DVDs and any related apparatus. Media council has been designed to provide evidence to help secure convictions under the Law. Media council can also assist the Police in cases of film ratings’ non-compliance.

14.How much does law enforcement cost?

Nothing, we carry out this work as part of our law enforcement role, as designated by the coordinating working group

15.Using Media council ratings and symbols

Media council age ratings (text and symbols) are identifiable, understandable, trusted and consistent in their application and meaning. Using them allows viewers to make safe, informed decisions about the content they choose for themselves and their family.

16. Technical requirements

All works submitted to media council for classification should be the full, final edit in the correct format screen ratio with final sound mix.
All moving footage must be classified including multiple versions of a feature e.g. director’s cut, audio commentary etc and any bonus content or moving menus that will form part of a final product.

17. How can I justify the rating of my work?

A member of the technical crew will be invited at our preview session although no discussion of a rating will take place. However, the crew will have the opportunity to discuss the technical aspects of the film.
After classification, each film submitted for classification will be issued with a classification certificate. This could be an approval, a referral or a rejection. To a certain extent, a film may be banned if it breaches the law or violates the moral fabric of society.

18. Who takes classification decisions?

Films are normally previewed by three examiners and ratified by a senior examiner. However, if a film is complex, the classification office seeks specialist advice from concerned organizations before a decision is made.

19. Do I have a right to appeal against a classification decision?

Yes: Media council offers a formal ‘reconsideration’ procedure which is open to any distributor or film maker dissatisfied with the classification of their work. The reconsideration is at the expense of the petitioner Distributors should note that reviews or an appeal involves looking at the issues afresh. This means that the outcome could, in some circumstances, be more restrictive than the original determination. If still not satisfied, the appellant may proceed to the courts of law.

20. How long does the classification process take?

Work submitted for classification must be completed within 30 working days of a calendar month. However, the classification office aims to complete work within a shorter time depending on urgency.

FAQ didnt solve your problem?

Here are several ways to contact us

Need Support?

Contact Person
Secretary Media Council (Mr. Pius Mwinganisa)
Tel: 041-254908/0752-645480 Fax: 041230367
Email: mpiusug@yahoo.com

Check on us

Location:
Postel Building 11th Floor Rm. 13
Clement Hill Road
P.O. Box 23780 Kampala