Comments 2674 Views Kampala, Uganda
In Uganda, the broadcast media, particularly radio and television are the most effective in terms of audience reach and message impact.  Unlike newspapers and new media tools such as twitter, face-book, u-tube and linked-in, which are still largely urban channels, radio and television have reached even the remotest corners of the country.  With 246 as at August 2013, operational radio stations, and 41 television networks, broadcasting in local languages, community radio has become an integral component of development communication.

Broadcast media, therefore, is a real opportunity for government to mobilise citizens to participate in national development programs.  Under the Licensing conditions of Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), No.5 states “From time to time the licensee shall be obliged to allocate time to promote government programmes”.  To derive maximum publicity from this complementary air-time, it is suggested that the following issues be considered; as guidelines:
1.            The programs will run during the morning or evening prime time broadcast hours, when listenership is high.  It is recommended that the programs are aired in the morning between 6:00 am and 10:00 am as well as between 5:00 pm and 10:00 pm in the evening.
2.            The proposed live programs, preferably running for one hour for radio, should be in the format of talk-shows.  The first (40) forty minutes should be for the interview of government officials by program moderators and the last 20 minutes for feed-back through phone calls and text messages from listeners.  For TV it is proposed to 30 minutes.
3.            The programs will air once in a week on clearly designated dated and times which media stations shall follow.  A specific week day and prime time will be designated and adhered to.  To prepare audiences for the up-coming topics and guest panelists, the stations will be required to offer prior promotion for the programs through jingles and presenter mentions of the upcoming program.  The prior promotions will air for at least three days ahead of the live program.  For uniformity government will provide provisional material.
4.            The Office of the Prime Minister, in particular, the Directorate of Information and National Guidance will liaise with Political Leaders, Permanent Secretaries, Chief Administrative Officers and relevant Communication Units in MDAs plus LGs, to coordinate and develop schedules of issues and topics for government media programs.
5.            The respective Communication Units in Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Local Governments (MDAs and LGs) will arrange for appropriate well informed Political Leaders and relevant officials to feature in the programs, or stand in.
6.            All concerned Government officials MUST endeavor to participate in the programs as scheduled or else be accused of negligence of duty.  To ease preparation, Communication Units from the invited MDAs and LGs MUST avail, the program moderators with background information, regarding the topics to be discussed, at least three days, before airing of the programs.
7.            The moderators will ensure that the programs are run professionally and do meet minimum broadcasting standards.  They must also ensure that the feedback from listeners is screened and rendered consistent with topics and issues under review.
8.            Where necessary, when a Government official is hosted, the MDAs and LGs will arrange with the concerned station, to meet the cost of CDs so as to avail a recording of specific media programs for future use e.g. as an alternative educational tool or for replay on the air-waves.
9.            Pre-recorded statements will also be employed especially in cases of public information and education.  These should not exceed thirty minutes.  Like live programmes, prior promotions will air for at least seventy two hours ahead of their broadcast.
10.         Coverage of known public events, and as much as possible for National Public events, should have live coverage, nationwide.  From the national broadcaster or any other source.  These include, Independence Day, Women’s Day, Budget Speech, State of the Nation Address, etc.  There will be need to emphasize pre-event and post-event sensitization as well as the event itself.  Adequate preparations will be necessary in terms of human, financial and material resources.The programs shall be sustained continuously in order to offer communication support for the government development programmes.