Thursday, May 6, 2010

CBS FM Management has lessons to learn from the closure of the station eight months now

The Nabagereka Foundation mobilisation has greatly been helped by CBS publicity.

The Business community of Kikuubo in Kampala raised shs 13m to buy a Certificate from Mengo; all efforts facilitated by CBS radio.

GOOD OLD DAYS: CBS’ Kato Lubwama (L) and Abby Mukiibi during their morning show, before the station was closed. PHOTO BY EDGAR BATTE
Given that about 30 million was being earned daily by the time the station was closed down (making 900 million a month), a total of about shs 7.2bn has been lost in would be income. This is not all; there is money that was being raised from other functions that CBS could time and again organize, and the mobilization for resources for various projects all of which were easy when the radio was on air. It is important to note that the over 100 employees have for more than 6 months (I assume) not got salary and other benefits as the station has since been closed! We need to remember that there are a number of educative programmes; some cultural, others skill development that were being aired on the station for the benefit of the listeners.
With that background, it is true; the station keeping clear of partisan politics cannot make it lose money, and that should be the way to go if it is opened. The people were supporting it because among other things it is a pillar for development and enhances communication within Uganda. We should re – focus on what the people can benefit from the station and see that it helps them develop to have useful citizens with time. If the central government is uncomfortable with presenters; I think it is best to observe because what government likes does not stop Buganda from getting income or even educating the people.
William Kituuka

Government had set 12 conditions for reopening CBS radio
By Sheila Naturinda & Tabu Butagira
Posted Saturday, January 23 2010 at 00:00
Monitor has learnt that a Cabinet meeting at State House Entebbe chaired by President Museveni on Thursday night agreed to temporarily allow the radio, taken off air 19 weeks ago, to resume broadcasting - subject to a dozen stiff provisos, among them an explicit apology to the government.
The government has ordered the Central Broadcasting Station radio to immediately relocate from Bulange-Mengo, the seat of Buganda kingdom, and disassociate itself from the Kabaka if it wants to remain in business.
Saturday Monitor has learnt that a Cabinet meeting at State House Entebbe chaired by President Museveni on Thursday night agreed to temporarily allow the radio, taken off air 19 weeks ago, to resume broadcasting - subject to a dozen stiff provisos, among them an explicit apology to the government.
Sources that attended the 9-hour meeting but whom we cannot name because Cabinet discussions are confidential, told this newspaper that a consensus was reached to permanently withdraw the station’s licence if the mangers do not toe the line preferred by the central government.
Managers unaware
Among the 12 conditions, which CBS Managing Director Kaaya Kavuma yesterday said they are yet to formally receive from the government, is a requirement for the radio managers to sack all employees accused of inciting the September 10-12 riots in and around Kampala.
At least 27 people were allegedly shot dead by state security operatives as they violently quelled the civil unrest, ignited by a government refusal to allow the Kabaka hold a royal function in Kayunga District where a section of the minority Banyala are seeking a break away from Buganda.
President Museveni blamed the bloody events of the time that has heavily strained relations between Buganda kingdom and his ruling NRM government on tribalised incitement by CBS radio in which Mengo owns majority shares.
It has also emerged that Thursday’s State House meeting settled that disaffected CBS staff who sued the government over closure of the radio immediately abandon litigation or the government will freeze dialogue with the broadcaster and let the courts decide.
CBS was also asked to re-apply for a new broadcasting licence after the initial one was revoked during the station’s shutdown some four months ago. “[CBS management] must ensure that all those people consistently breaching the broadcasting standards should not appear on air again. The station’s management should be immediately changed; employees who incited riots be nowhere in the employment list,” a minister told this newspaper, reading from resolutions of the night meeting.
It is these set of conditions that the government says CBS has ignored – provisos the radio managers deny knowledge of – that President Museveni reportedly seized on at Thursday’s meeting to indict CBS on its current predicament.
Blame game
“CBS management is responsible for the delays in re-opening of the station,” Mr Museveni is quoted to have told his ministers. Yesterday, Mr Kaaya, the radio MD who is also a shareholder, said he was surprised to learn of the decision from the media because “we have never once before been informed of the conditions”. “Until we have got those conditions officially, I cannot comment and when we get them, I will sit with the Board [of Directors] and we decide on what to do accordingly,” he said.
Saturday Monitor has learnt that CBS management met with President Museveni on Friday last week and held follow up discussions with Information, Communication and Technology Minister Aggrey Awori shortly before Thursday’s Cabinet meeting, arguing a case for reinstatement of the station’s operations.
Mr Awori, whose ministry oversees the communications sector, including broadcasters, heads an ad hoc Cabinet committee formed purposely to handle the CBS closure, a thorny issue for the government on an election eve.
Information Minister Kabakumba Masiko who sits on Awori’s committee, told Saturday Monitor yesterday that: “As a government, we are willing to forget and forgive if the CBS management is cooperative.” It has emerged that another team of ministers, only those with legal qualifications, has been tasked to re-package the expanded pre-conditions to keep CBS in check and Mr Awori, as the line minister, will chair this committee.

Closed radio owners turn to Saleh, Mirundi
Written by Edris Kiggundu
Thursday, 29 October 2009 03:47
The fate of radio stations closed during the September riots in Kampala and other parts of Buganda remains unknown more than one and a half months later. CBS, Suubi FM, Akaboozi Ku Biri and Radio Sapientia were closed on September 10 for reportedly inciting people to demonstrate against the government. Radio Sapientia was re-opened later, with a warning to stick to religious issues, after its management agreed to suspend three presenters.
Since then, managers of the other stations have been engaged in a series of negotiations with the Broadcasting Council, the body that regulates the industry, but it appears they have covered little ground.
For now, radio managers claim negotiations are still ongoing and many are positive they will end on a fruitful note.
“We shall be opened soon that is what we have been told,” said Bogere Masembe, the Managing Director of Suubi FM last week. Behind the scenes, we understand that radio owners have been pleading with President Museveni and lobbying other senior government officials to have their stations re-opened.
Kaboozi Ku Biri owner, Mohan Kiwanuka and his wife Maria, have reportedly met Museveni who keeps assuring them that their matter will be sorted out, sources have told us. Kiwanuka is reportedly banking on his strong links to the NRM for which he is said to be a leading financier.
On the other hand, Kaaya Kavuma, the Managing Director of CBS, has engaged Gen. Salim Saleh, Museveni’s younger brother, in a bid to have the Buganda Kingdom-owned radio re-opened. It is also understood that after Museveni met Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi last month, relations between Mengo and the central government have been less hostile – and this raises the possibility of CBS re-opening.
Museveni recently told journalists at State House Entebbe that CBS will be re-opened following the outcome of his talks with the Kabaka.
Reliable sources have told us that Suubi has been lobbying through Tamale Mirundi, the President’s Press Secretary. Also involved in the negotiations is the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). This organisation, which brings together all broadcasters in Uganda, is chaired by Capt. Francis Babu.
During a recent meeting between NAB and the Broadcasting Council, Babu castigated the regulatory body for closing the stations without prior warning, saying this will create tension and fear within the industry.
“We want to request you to go back and talk to your bosses to review your policy and re-open these radios,” Babu told the BC boss, Godfrey Mutabazi. Indeed some media houses, fearing to annoy the government, have moved fast to censor themselves and in extreme cases, some have sacked or suspended employees deemed to have crossed the line.
An example is our recent report on Masaka-based Radio Buddu, which sacked seven employees, accusing them of failing to observe minimum broadcasting standards (See: Masaka’s Radio Buddu sacks 7; The Observer, October 15-18).
The closure of the radio stations has had a profound effect on their economic base. Many have lost hundreds of millions of shillings in advertising revenue, their major source of profit. The employees have meanwhile been rendered idle and all they do is to come to office everyday, trying to catch up on the latest developments.
A few lucky ones, like Abbey Mukiibi of CBS, have taken to their other vocations like drama. Tittie Tabel, known for giving advice on marital issues, now hosts a popular TV show on NBS, titled Tittie’s Show. Some of the employees of Akaboozi Ku Biri have been moved to Radio One, a sister station, and given other tasks.
Some of the employees we spoke to revealed that their employers have continued paying their salaries. An employee of Akaboozi Kubiri told us that when the workers met the proprietor, Kiwanuka, at his Kololo residence recently, he assured them that they would continue earning a salary.
“He told us that even if they closed us for a year, he would still pay our salaries,” said the employee who requested anonymity because management warned them against speaking publicly to other media houses for fear of jeopardising the negotiations.


The management and staff of CBS fm radio have dissociated themselves from a group of employees who went to meet the president in state house at Entebbe over the radio’s closure early this week.

A group of employees including Davis Kiraga, Geoffrey Ndugga, Jennifer Christine Nassozi, Tamale Kkonde and Godfrey Sseguya aka Kayibanda went to state house to meet President Museveni pleading to him to reopen the radio.
In a press conference held at the radio premises in Bulange, Mengo, the General Manager of the radio Kawooya Mwebe clarified that these employees were neither representing the management nor its other employees.
He stressed that the radio’s management is firm on its position with the case filed to the high court and respect the judge’s advice of settling the case out of court if the radio will be reopened.
Kawooya further stressed that as CBS management, they do not object to anyone meeting the president because it’s their right but meeting him on matters relating to the radio without their consent or that of all the employees is not acceptable.
The few employees who went to state house did not seek permission or inform the radio’s management or any of its other employees. This therefore means that they did it behind their employers’ backs. Kawooya added.
Kawooya maintained that these employees had their own agendas to fulfill because there is a respected committee led by Ex- Katikkiro Joseph Mulwanyamuli Ssemwogere which has on several occasions met the president over the reopening of CBS and therefore it did not necessitate any other person’s intervention into the same matter. Source:

Oweek. Kaaya Kavuma Managing Director, CBS FM
The minister of information from the central government, Kabakumba Matsiko paid a curtsy visit to CBS FM radio at Bulange in Mengo.
According to our reporter, the minister’s visit was part of her familiarization tour of the radio.
During her visit to the radio, Matsiko called upon private media institution owners to make use of her officer especially where they face challenges and obstacles in the course of executing their duties.
She also met the board of directors of the radio and discussed various issues concerning the role of the media house to the society. Matsiko further commended private media houses for their role in complimenting the government’s role of educating and mobilizing the public for development.
Matsiko thanked CBS radio for airing programmes that target positive transformation of people and therefore promised to work with the radio to reach out to communities in the central region for development.
The managing Director for CBS FM radio, Godfrey Kaaya Kavuma while giving his remarks emphasized the need to promote Buganda’s interests and to educate the public especially the youth whose morals are degenerating in the face of modernity and globalization.
Kaaya added that the central government has on several occasions misconceived the radio programmes and branded the radio as oppositional yet the radio’s motive is to improve on the political, social, economic and cultural welfare of its listeners.
John Sebana Kizito also one of the directors of the radio appealed to the minister to incorporate the radio’s development programmes especially Nsidiika njake into the main stream government development programmes like prosperity for all.
The radio’s general manager, Michael Kawooya Mwebe highlighted some of CBS fm’s corporate responsibilities icluding covering social course programmes, covering fundraising for heart patients, donating to hospitals, painting Zebra crossings, construction of schools and organization of music festivals and football tournaments.

The letter closing CBS radio - Source:
11th September 2009
The General Manager
Central Broadcasting Service (CBS)
Bulange, Mengo
We refer to the Electronic Media Act, and more specifically to section 7 read together with section 8 thereof, which requires that the right to broadcast be exercised in accordance with the minimum broadcasting standards which are contained in the First schedule to the Act.
We also refer to the terms and conditions for operating a broadcasting license duly executed by Central Broadcasting Service (CBS) as a prerequisite for the renewal of the license for the period 2009/2010.
As you may be aware, non compliance by Central Broadcasting Service (CBS) with the minimum broadcasting standards and other general provisions of the law has been the subject of continued dialogue between the Broadcasting Council and the management of (CBS) from September 2007 to date.
The Public Spectrum Rationale
Note that the electromagnetic spectrum has been deemed, since the beginning of broadcast regulation, to be a publicly owned natural resource. This "scarce public resource" rationale forms the foundation on which broadcast regulation is based. In the case of Uganda, the Government allocates frequencies to broadcasters
including Central Broadcasting Services to be utilised within the framework of the Electronic Media Act and other relevant laws. It must be emphasised at this point that the electromagnetic spectrum remains the property of the Government of Uganda and has simply been allocated to a broadcaster to be utilised as per agreed terms and conditions.
The Minimum Broadcasting Standards and the Terms and Conditions
The minimum broadcasting standards requires that:
(a) any programme which is broadcast:
(i) is not contrary to public morality;
(ii)does not promote the culture of violence or ethnical prejudice among the public, especially the children and the youth;
(iii) in the case of a news broadcast is free from distortion of facts;
(iv) is not likely to create public insecurity or violence;
(v) is in compliance with the existing law;

(b) Programmes that are broadcast are balanced to ensure harmony in such programmes;

(c) Adult -oriented programmes are appropriately scheduled

(d) Where a programme that is broadcast is in respect to a contender for a public office, then each contender is given equal opportunity on such a programme
You will recall that the Broadcasting Council and the management of CBS have held a series of meetings to address pertinent issues that arose in 2007 and 2008 and on the whole CBS had agreed to operate within the ambit of the Electronic Media Act and more specifically, had undertaken to comply with the Minimum broadcasting standards.
In providing proof of compliance with provisions 4, 10 and 11 of the Licensing Terms and Conditions in the previous year prior to the renewal, CBS stated that it had broadcast programs that promote public interest, local content and diversity in program content, programs that deal with educational services and safeguard, enrich and strengthen the cultural, social and economic fabric of Uganda and programs that ensure pluralism in the provision of news, views and information.
Furthermore the terms and conditions have embedded under provision 11, the minimum broadcasting standards which CBS undertook to comply with. The Licensee (CBS) undertakes under provision 13 that the Council may cancel the license by notice in writing for breach of any of the provisions contained in the Licensing Terms and Conditions.
The Broadcasting Council duly issued to CBS broadcasting licenses in respect of its stations for the year 2009/2010. We would like to emphasise that it was understood that the issues that had been raised in 2007/2008 would be adequately addressed by CBS in order to warrant the renewal of the broadcasting license.
Major Issues arising in 2007/2008
The issues that arose during the period in question, that is 2007/2008 included:
• Compliance with the minimum broadcasting standards generally
• Compliance with sections 4 and 5 of the Electronic Media Act in respect of the registration of producers and presenters with the Media Council
• Adequacy of Technical facilities which included installation of a pre-listening devise and inadequacy of the facilities that are used for the Mambo Bado Programme (which is a live broadcast made in a hall and not in a studio)
Meetings of 24th August 2007 and 7th September 2007
For your ease of reference we refer to the meetings of 24th August 2007 and 7th September 2007 which arose out of complaints made to the Broadcasting Council by the Police in respect of programmes by several radio stations including Central Broadcasting Services (CBS).
The two meetings agreed to a way forward and the broadcasters including CBS undertook:
• To comply with the minimum broadcasting standards;
• To guide personalities who are invited to discuss on talk shows by giving them guidelines;
• Instruct and take charge of their presenters / producers;
• Ensure that producers / presenters strictly adhere to the script during discussions;
• Scrutinise topics in respect of their sensitivity in relation to the public;
• Invite two persons with divergent views to discuss each topic in order to ensure balance;
• To make guests sign disclaimers before she / he goes on air taking responsibility for their actions;
• Not to invite the same persons to appear on the same programme repeatedly;
• To inform the Broadcasting Council within two weeks of the meeting of August 24, 2008, of action that had been taken against the producers / presenters mentioned in the meeting.
Meeting of January 30, 2008
Thereafter the Council received further complaints in respect of the Mambo Bado Program of 28th December 2007 which led to the meeting of 30th January 2008. At that meeting the Broadcasting Council raised the same issues in respect of the Mambo Bado Program of 28th December 2007.
The meeting of 30th January 2008 agreed to maintain the way forward agreed to in the meetings of Friday August 24, 2007 and Friday September 7, 2007 which therefore formed part of the position of 4th February 2008 arising out of that meeting.
Meeting with the Minister of ICT Held on 17th October 2008
Thereafter the Broadcasting Council received a complaint in respect of the Mambo Bado Programme of Saturday 11th October 2008. In an attempt to resolve the matter more conclusively, the then Hon. Minister of Information and Communications Technology chaired the meeting between the Broadcasting Council and CBS on the 17th October 2009 and all the instances of our dialogue were reviewed as a true sequence of events.
The most pertinent outcome of that meeting was that it was agreed that guidance will, at the beginning of the Mambo Bado Program be made by the presenter on the subject matter and on the rules of engagement during the discussion of the topic of the day so as to ensure compliance to the minimum broadcasting standards.
Suffice it to note at this point that the Broadcasting Council noted and duly communicated failure by CBS to comply to this position during the Mambo Bado Program of 18n October 2008, which was the following day after the meeting with the Minister.
This situation confirmed then, as it does presently, what the Broadcasting Council had submitted during the meeting with the Minister that the inability of producers or presenters to effectively manage the programs in question (Mambo Bado, Crossfire, Twejjukanye and Kkriza oba Gana) is one of the factors in the failure by CBS to comply with the minimum broadcasting standards as specified in the Electronic Media Act.
Non- Licensing of CBS in 2008
Due to the continued breach by CBS, the Council convened a meeting with the management of CBS on the 20th November 2008. During that meeting the Secretary of the Council gave the genesis of non-licensing of CBS 89.2, explaining that the programmes Kiriza oba Gaana, Mambo Bado, Cross Fire and Twejukanye aired on CBS 89.2 occasioned breach of the Minimum Broadcasting standards.
In addition the producers and presenters of these programmes were not qualified and therefore failed to manage the programmes. The Secretary pointed out that several meetings were held with the Management of CBS concerning those programmes whenever CBS 89.2 was operating outside the law and this had resulted in CBS not being licensed for the past six months.
During that meeting CBS undertook to:
• Pre-record some programmes.
• Suspend errant presenters/moderators
• Cooperate with the Broadcasting Council
• Regulate controversial political programmes.
• Restrain abusive/outspoken guests
• Minimise programmes that bring confrontation with Central Government
• Invite the Broadcasting Council to CBS to give guidelines to the discussants as to how programmes should be presented and explain the functions of the Council.
• Balance topics and ensure that discussants are from divergent groups.
• Invite Government officials to CBS to explain certain topics.
• Contact the Media Council once again for registration of its journalists, many of whom had qualifications.
The Council therefore agreed to issue to CBS a provisional broadcasting licence for six months and would closely monitor CBS programmes to ensure that minimum broadcasting standards are complied with. On completion of the period of 6 months, the Committee would review the performance of CBS to give appropriate remedies based on their observations.
In its letter of January 21,2009 the Council communicated its position on the licensing of CBS. Due to the progress made by CBS in complying with the minimum broadcasting standards, the Council amended its earlier resolution and agreed to issue to CBS a broadcasting license for one year.
Meeting of 3rd August 2009
The main agenda was stated as deviation by CBS once again from agreed positions which were arrived at during the meeting of 26th November 2008 and other prior meetings. This it was pointed out, arose out of a number of complaints received by the Broadcasting Council from different sectors of the public and institutions in respect of the Twejjukanye Programme which was broadcast on Sunday 19n July 2009 and the Mambo Bado Programme which was broadcast on 25th July 2009. Excerpts of these broadcasts were read out to CBS.
The Committee further informed CBS that it has taken the opportunity to listen to the recordings in respect of the programmes in question and found that they raise the same issues that have been the subject of continued dialogue between CBS and the Broadcasting Council. The issues revolve around the non compliance by CBS with the minimum broadcasting standards, which was responsible for the delay in the renewal of CBS's license in 2008.
CBS acknowledged that it had once again reneged on its undertaking to comply with agreed positions that have been the subject of the continued dialogue. While stating its apology, CBS pleaded exceptional circumstances prevailing at the time of the broadcasts that is between the period 12th July 2009 to 2nd August 2009.
By its letter of 3rd August 2009, the Committee sought clarification from CBS as to the exceptional circumstances so as to be guided in its decision. While CBS responded in its subsequent letter the exceptional circumstances have never been explained.
Complaints arising in September 2009
While the issues raised at the meeting of 3rd August 2009 are still pending, CBS has once again reneged on its understanding. The Broadcasting Council has taken exception to the role that CBS has been playing in mobilizing and inciting the public to riot around the Kakaba's planned visit to Kayunga District. This is evidenced by the escalation of violence which resulted in lose of life and property and brought business to a stand still in some parts of the city on the 10.09.09
Non Compliance with Provisions of the Penal Code Act
Note that CBS is also required to comply with other provisions of the law. The programmes in question the contravention of sections 39 and 40 of the Penal Code Act Cap 120 which provide for seditious intention and seditious offences.
Suspension of Operations &. Withdrawal of License
We note that while CBS made an undertaking not to keep inviting the same personalities to these programmes this has not been complied with.
We further note that the consistent dialogue between the Broadcasting Council and the management of CBS does not seem to yield the desired results and the undertakings by the Management of CBS on the whole have not translated into action on your part.
The Council therefore proceeds under section 10 and section 25 of the Electronic Media Act. Section 10(a) and (h) provide broadly for the powers and functions of the Council.
Section 10 provides for the functions of the Council to include:
(a) To coordinate and exercise control over and to supervise broadcasting
(b) To carry out any other function that is incidental to any of the foregoing
Section 25 (1) provides that the Council or its duly authorised officer may confiscate any electronic apparatus which is used in contravention of this Act.
The Council further proceeds under section 6 of the Electronic Media Act. In executing its duties under section 6 which provides for issuing of broadcasting licenses, the Council formulated licensing Terms and Conditions which are duly executed by CBS. The Terms and Conditions have embedded under provision 11, the minimum broadcasting standards which CBS undertook to comply with. The Licensee (CBS) further undertakes under provision 13 that the Council may cancel the license by notice in writing for breach of any of the provisions contained in the Licensing Terms and Conditions.
The Council therefore withdraws CBS's broadcasting license in accordance with section 6 and section 10 of the Electronic Media Act and the Terms and Conditions for Operating a License.
Godfrey Mutabazi
C.C. Hon. Minister Information and Communications Technology
C.C. Hon. Minister Information & National Guidance
C.C. Attorney General, Ministry of Justice & Constitutional Affairs
C.C. Inspector General of Police

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