By Isaac Norman Mwambazi
On Monday this week, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) issued a public notice to all online broadcasters that requires them to register with the Commission by October 5, 2020, lest they have their operations shut down.
The notice was received with much criticism by industry players, with some saying it is uncalled for, while others said the Commission is stamping on their freedom of expression.
On Thursday, former Makerere University Guild President Ivan Bwowe, who is now a lawyer, filed a case against UCC at the High Court of Uganda challenging what he termed as a “Stupid Public Notice.”
“Today I have filed a case against UCC in the High Court as promised, challenging the Stupid Public Notice. The case number 256 is a coincidence. I await allocation of the case to a judge and fixing of the matter for hearing,” Bwowe tweeted.
In the suit, Bwowe claims that the UCC directive is “obnoxious and unconstitutional,” and prays to the High Court to annul it immediately.
“The applicant seeks a declaration that the public notice by UCC for providers of online data communication and broadcasting services to obtain authorization dated September, 7, 2020 is illegal and contravenes the constitution and is an abuse of the law,” Bwowe’s petition reads in part.
On Wednesday, September 9, 2020, the Uganda Broadcasters Association also asked UCC to explain the terms, conditions and motives behind the regulation.