Media is one of the means or channels of general communication, information, or entertainment in the economy. For economy to grow, it requires the enabling environment for businesses and investments to flourish. The media can provide atmosphere for healthy trade; foster business climate of transparency and accountability; and ensure that accurate financial information is available to potential investors. Global and foreign media report on international economic issues, currency markets and international trade. The media can however make or mar the enabling environment.
The media in Uganda includes print, television, radio and online sectors, and coverage is split between both state-run outlets and privately held outlets. Uganda has a diverse and competitive media sector, and the country has 202 accredited and licensed radio stations (UCC 2020), 40 TV stations and eight pay TV service providers (UCC 2019) and 23 online Networked Media Open Specification (NMOs).
The Ugandan government is a key player in the media landscape through advertising and its ownership of the national broadcaster UBC and state-owned commercial media group, the Vision Group, which has 10 newspaper titles, three TV stations and six radio stations. According to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) Q3 2019 report, there were 40 operational TV stations in Uganda and eight pay TV service providers (UCC, 2019a). UCC (2020) indicated that as of late 2020, there were 202 accredited and licensed radio stations. The Government’s Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) operates 10 radio stations.
National Development Plan III has focused on promoting the use of ICT in the entire economy and society through: (i) deployment of advanced and secure infrastructure; (ii) establishing a seamless interconnection between public and private infrastructure providers; (iii) ensuring standardization and interoperability of systems; (iv) supporting innovators in development and commercialization of ICT products; (v) enhancing digital literacy and developing skills to support innovation; and (vi) review and automation of end-to-end government business and service delivery processes.
Uganda’s internet penetration rate (internet users per 100 people) was 46 percent in FY2020/21 above the NDP III target of 30 percent. The good performance was as a result of total lockdown of the economy as a way to curb COVID 19 virus which led to shifting work culture, which led many businesses to adopt remote working methods which increased internet penetration.