Top TV summoned over moderator’s conduct

Uganda Communications Commission has summoned the management of Top Television to defend itself against complaints that a programme aired on 20 April 2020 was in breach of the Minimum Broadcasting Standards.

During the show, parts of which have been widely shared on social media, the moderator Joan Nakintu Lule attacked her guest, Miss Uganda Oliver Nakakande, in a manner that was widely perceived as unprofessional.

The Commission wrote to Top Television on 22 April 2020, indicating that a member of the public had complained that the station’s news broadcasts are not balanced to ensure harmony and that its presenters are unprofessional, citing the “Cocktail” programme that aired on 20 April 2020 at 8 am as an example.

“The complainant alleges that during the broadcast of the show “Cocktail”, the presenter or host was unprofessional, failed to meet journalistic principles or ethics, and thus breached the broadcasting standards,” the UCC Ag. Executive Director Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo wrote on 22 April 2020.

“The complainant further alleges that during the show, Ms Nakintu Joan Lule as a host of the program was unfair, lacked objectivity and impartiality required of a presenter.”

The Commission has accordingly commenced investigations into the conduct of Top Television, invoking sections 5(1) (b), (x), (j), 31,45 and 41of the Uganda Communications Act 2013.

To facilitate the investigation, the station is required to submit a recording of the said programme, alongside the programme script indicating the theme and topic of discussion that was covered. 

The station must also provide proof of requisite qualifications and registration of the producer, programmes director and host of the programme as required under Sections 5 and 27 of the Press and Journalist Act.

In addition, the Commission has directed that broadcasting of the programme be suspended until after the investigation has been concluded, in order to mitigate the risk of further breach.

As UCC awaits an explanation within five days, Top Television has moved to repair the damage caused by its broadcast, with the moderator apologising on air, and the station issuing an apology of its own through a press statement in which it admitted that the presenter had “exhibited unprofessional conduct”.

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