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Examining minimum broadcasting standard compliance

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Added 16th August 2019 05:12 PM

This standard should therefore guide broadcasters in filtering through their content including music that promotes such acts on radio and TV but is this happening any?

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Fred Max Adii

This standard should therefore guide broadcasters in filtering through their content including music that promotes such acts on radio and TV but is this happening any?

By Fred Max Adii

In the past few months, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has been moving around the country conducting training for radio producers, news editors, program directors and technical people regarding the minimum broadcasting standards.

Section 9.16 of the minimum broadcasting standard states that portrayals glamorizing or encouraging the use of illegal drugs are not allowed for all ratings. Section 11.3 states that Programmes exploring occult or ‘psychic’ practices, particularly those with actual demonstrations of exorcisms and occult practices involving supposed contact with spirits or the dead, should be treated with caution.

This standard should, therefore, guide broadcasters in filtering through their content including music that promotes such acts on radio and TV but is this happening any?

There are two music videos I would like to draw your attention to. The first music video is ‘Omu Bwati’ by Fik Fameica ft Pato Ranking which clearly glorifies the use of marijuana. The second music video is ‘Nkuloga’ by Grenade a song that freely promotes witchcraft with a video involving minors performing these acts.

‘Omu Bwati’ by Fik Fameica and Patoranking

At the start of this video, there is a placard which says ‘You can’t buy happiness but you can buy beer which is almost the same thing’. This is already a sign promoting alcohol use without any disclaimer. This is the first sign that triggers off an alarm in this song. Some of the lyrics surely call for censorship.

De gal fell in love with a rasta(unfortunately rastas are mostly associated with weed in Uganda)

She loves it clean and faster (shots/joints of weed knock you out fast and she loves it)

Agamba Njaga(weed) njaga njaga njaga njaga njaga (the artiste shows a sign of smoking weed)

Agamba when you look in ma eyes tell me what you read? (Craving/addiction for the drug seen in her eyes)

mukwano namajja mbirina tell me what you need? (Willing to pay any price for this weed including love or money)

Ono tatya ebyo bya kumukubisa weed (she doesn’t fear blacking out because of weed)

According to the lyrics above, Fik and Pato ranking might as well be singing about a young lady completely addicted to weed and she will do anything including offering money or her body to get a dose of this weed. He goes on to say that this craving is clearly evident in her eyes and she is not scared of blacking/passing out due to the effects of this drug. Towards the end of the song, he goes ahead to say that she doesn’t need lecturing from anyone since no one is righteous like a pastor.

Having gone through the lyrics, listened to the song and watched the video one thing stands out; Njagga (Marijuana). This is no different from encouraging smoking weed.

This song ‘omu bwati’ clearly glories drug(Njagga/weed) use carefully crafted to make one think this is a love song but carefully listening to the lyrics you will discover that this is not just a love song rather one that encourages smoking weed.

Nkuloga’ by Grenade

Nkuloga’ by Grenade is a song that talks about bewitching a girl in case she rejects a love advance from the artiste. One of the videos goes ahead to portray this act where a young boy goes to a witch doctor having been rejected by a peer. The dance video to this song is performed by minors who demonstrate in this video that when a male trying to persuade a female is rejected, he can resort to witchcraft. This is very unfortunate knowing the fact that this practice has led to tragic events such as human sacrifice, holding people at ransom and to some extent partners killing each other all in the name of being rejected instead of taking up counseling as a healing process in such circumstances. To some extent, you will find such vice being practiced in offices as a way of keeping jobs and seeking for promotions as opposed to working hard and smart.

Allow me to remind you about the song called ‘Embooko’ by Master Blaster De Teacher (R.I.P) that rose to fame in 2007. It was a song that went against public morals in central Uganda region with each word in the lyrics having an open ‘hidden meaning’. Words such as; Embooko, Emmanga, Enfuufu, Ekinene. Many media houses applied self-censorship and dropped the song from airplay. It would only find its way in clubs, pubs, and bars.

In 2005, the Media Council exercised its power derived from Section 9 of the Press and Journalists Act and blocked a play called the V Monologue because the council discovered that the play prominently promotes and glorifies acts of unnatural sex, masturbation, lesbianism or homosexuality.

These songs and many others which do not meet minimum broadcast standards should be attracting the attention of the Uganda Communications Commission and the Anti-Pornography Committee instituted by the Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity for one reason that they negatively impact on audiences.

The cultivation theory explains the long term effects of repeated exposure to media content such as songs and videos. This helps us understand that as one continuously consumes certain media content, they begin to act and believe in whatever content that media carries. This, therefore, implies that listening to songs that glorify the use of drugs for a long time makes it seem ok to use drugs no matter its negative consequences. This even makes it more dangerous especially when such a message comes from an artiste who commands a large youth following.

Artistes should endeavor to produce radio and video edits that are appropriate for broadcast purposes. They can also have a club version and performance versions with different ratings as opposed to having the same version for radio, TV and live performance.

On the other hand, broadcasters should always apply self-censorship in their content because of the effects impact audiences either negatively or positively. It’s therefore very important that everyone is vigilant of what kind of media content they consume. Not all media content is worth taking in.

The writer is a master of journalism and communications student of Makerere University

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