World Radio Day 13th February

Is Radio serving its purpose in Uganda as expected?

 Despite the liberalization of the Airwaves that resulted in to the establishment of numerous FM radio stations in the country, activists say that over the years the platform for freedom of expression has come under treat.

On November 3, 2011, the 36th General Conference of UNESCO approved the creation of the World Day of Radio.

As Uganda joined the rest of the world to mark the International Radio Day that falls on the 13th of February year,  Human Rights Activists under the Unwanted Witness Uganda a  non-government organizations have noted that the actions by state agencies have on several occasions interfered with the communication platform to the ordinary Uganda  provided by Radio.

Justifying the commemoration of the World Radio Day, the head of programs at the Unwanted witness Uganda a local NGO, Godfrey Twesigye says that radio enables to raise awareness in communities and facilitate access to information.

However Twesigye quickly added that any actions by state agents that stifle the content directly infringe on the freedom of expression and access to information.

Pointing out  examples of some radio presenters that were recently fired or sent on forced leave, the ban of Embimeza (open air broadcasts)and denial of politicians to access some radio stations, Twesigye says this undermines people rights and freedoms.  

Today the state seems  to be much interested in Radio business to the extent that the state agencies controls the content and stopping the hosting of people  on particular radio stations even after paying for the air space.  This is not limited to the private commercial Radio station but this has been evident for the state broadcaster where people with divergent political views can not step.

In some instances the politicians own the Radio Stations where it is almost automatic that their rivals cannot be hosted.