Rural Broadcasters Association of Uganda has urged President Yoweri Museveni to pay for the airtime for different government programs hosted on their stations. This comes after the government failure to pay them yet there are communication budgets set aside by Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Central Government, and all Local Governments for this function.
According to Julius Tumusiime, The manager of the Bushenyi-based BFM Radio said they have been providing government with free one-hour prime time airtime per week for the last five years and the agreement on the usage of the same has been breached by government officials. ” It was meant to be for emergency situations and security issues but that airtime was abused by government officials through diverting programs with budgets into it.” he quoted.
“Presently, it has become difficult to open a rural station because even big ministries come asking for free government airtime. Government is using our stations free of charge in spite of having the budget,” Tumusiime added.
He also stressed that district officials have been pressurising rural media houses to provide free airtime for programs which don’t fall under the emergency and security categories. Now, local governments which used to pay between Shs15m and Shs20m to help stations keep in business have stopped paying for airtime.
RuBA, supported by Uganda Media Owners Association (Umoa), has vowed not to provide free airtime to the Ministry of Education and Sports to teach students during the Coronavirus lockdown as Minister and First Lady Janet Museveni directed few days ago.