UCC to Challenge Court Ruling on Digital Migration

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In short
In a telephone interview with URN, UCC Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi said that it was erroneous for the court to make the decision on a technical process without due consideration for the repercussions this may have.

The Uganda Communications Commission - UCC is preparing an appeal against a court ruling in which it was ordered to reinstate analogue TV transmission in areas that were recently disconnected.

The ruling by Mengo Chief Magistrate's court asked the commission to halt the implementation of digital migration pending hearing of an application filed by city lawyer Enoth Mugabi.

Mugabi filed the application as an aggrieved party following UCC's move to switch off analogue transmission channels and sets.  The move left millions of Ugandans without access to TV transmission; save for those who had could afford set top boxes and decoders.

The order issued by Grade One Magistrate Moses Ntende Kagoda restrains Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) from interfering with the broadcaster's transmission of analogue TV signals to the applicant Enoth Mugabi and whoever relies on analogue Television for broadcasting and TV viewing.

However, in a telephone interview with URN, UCC Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi, said that it was erroneous for the court to make the decision on a technical process without due consideration for the repercussions this may have.

"Digital migration is irreversible. This is a technical process that cannot be dictated on by a court. If you are 30 years old, do you think it is possible to go back to 18 years? We shall definitely appeal this decision," Mutabazi says.

Mutabazi reveals that the body, through its lawyers, Kampala Associated Advocates, has already started the appeal process to reverse the decision.

Earlier, State Minister for ICT Nyombi Thembo maintained that there will be no return to analogue TV transmission in the areas that had already been switched off.

"We have learned about the so called court order issued by chief magistrate's court of Mengo directing UCC to switch back to analogue signal. I would however, like to advise the public to ignore that so called court order with respect to returning to Analogue TV broadcasting. The order is impractical and our ( UCC ) lawyers are handling the matter with the High Court," The Minister posted on social media.

He added that "there shall not be return to Analogue... We shall push on to ensure that the whole country is switched off by 31st August 2015 as scheduled."

Thembo added that although government recognizes the challenges with regard to affordability of STBs, Ugandans need to embrace digital broadcasting in order to improve the quality of services in the broadcasting industry.

 

About the author

Olive Eyotaru
Olive Eyotaru is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Eyotaru has been a URN staff member since February 2015.

Eyotaru started practising journalism while still studying at Uganda Christian University. She was a reporter with Ultimate Media Consult Ltd between 2005 and 2007.

In 2009, Eyotaru joined Monitor Publications Limited, under KFM Radio as a parliamentary and business reporter. Consequently, Eyotaru started writing for the Daily Monitor newspaper until January 2015, when she moved to URN.

She is interested in reporting about politics, health, human rights, business and sports.