Uganda’s communications regulator (UCC) has ordered the closure of 23 radio stations over what it calls “lack of minimum broadcasting standard”.
A spokesperson for the UCC was quoted as saying that the decision was taken after the stations ignored incessant warnings against advertising and promoting witchcraft.
The regulator also accused the stations of aiding and abetting fraud by allowing fraudsters to use their airwaves to con people through promotion of healing powers.
A letter to the affected stations reads: “The commission has noted with concern that despite these several warnings your undertaking not to advertise and promote witchcraft…and the public outcry against such misuse of the airwaves, your station has continued to advertise and promote witchcraft in contravention of section 2 of the witchcraft act.”
The commission said the stations will resume broadcasts if they comply with the broadcasting standards.
The EastAfrican reports that Uganda has a vibrant FM radio segment, with more than 270 radio stations on air. The stiff competition for a limited advertising pool has left many broadcasters with little option but to accept advertising from whoever can walk into the studio with some money.
The report said “some of these advertisers are herbalists and sellers of lucky charms, the practice the regulator has interpreted as promotion of witchcraft and fraud”.