The controversial Communications Regulatory Authority Bill 2012 is in its final stages before the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) committee of parliament. The chairperson ICT committee Paula Turyahikayo says the first draft report is ready and once the committee reports back to parliament next week, the legislators will be making final submissions to the report.
The controversial Communications Regulatory Authority Bill 2012 is in its final stages before the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) committee of parliament.
The chairperson ICT committee Paula Turyahikayo says the first draft report is ready and once the committee reports back to parliament next week, the legislators will be making final submissions to the report.
Despite going beyond the 45 days for scrutinizing the bill as stipulated in the rules of procedure of parliament, Turyahikayo notes that the committee will have a report in two to three weeks.
In March 2012, Government tabled the Communications Regulatory Authority Bill aimed at consolidating two laws, Uganda Communications Act and the Electronic Media Act. The bill now covers telecommunication, postal services broadcasting as well as cinemas and video libraries.
The Bill gives powers to the ICT Minister to control and regulate the sector and establish a Uganda Communication Tribunal headed by a High Court Judge and two other persons appointed by the President to arbitrate disputes. It also empowers the Minister to appoint and dismiss the Director General of the Communications Regulatory Authority and recruit board members, and other senior staff.
Turyahikayo says her committee has established several loopholes in the bill that they will seek to amend before it is passed to law. She says the committee has provided a tribunal where operators can appeal against decisions by the regulator.
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In April, broadcast media owners under the National Association of Broadcasters-NAB criticized the bill and demanded for major changes before it is enacted into law.
Francis Babu, the chairperson of NAB observes that the proposed law lumps the telecommunication and broadcast sectors together yet they are different in all aspects. He says it is necessary to make clear a difference of the two in the law.
As parliament is set to reconvene next week, committee chairpersons are gearing up to complete unfinished business.
The Committee on Information, Science and Communication Technology is mandated by Parliament to oversee the activities and programmes of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology.
While other committees of parliament have between 20 to 30 legislators, ICT only has 17 members. Members are selected from among MPs on the basis of the parties or organizations represented in Parliament.
Turyahikayo says the challenge is the technical nature of the committee’s work. She says courses will be organized to enable MPs understand the technical issues in ICT.
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mp turyahikayo: media bill almost complete
chairperson ict committee paula turyahikayo
national association of broadcasters (nab)
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