Mass media in Uganda

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The mass media in Uganda includes print, television, radio and online sectors, and coverage is split between both state-run outlets and privately held outlets as well as English-language outlets and Luganda-language outlets.

Print Media in Uganda

There are number of newspapers in Uganda today. The New Vision is Uganda's leading English daily newspaper. It is a state owned newspaper and has the largest nationwide circulation. The Daily Monitor is independent English language newspaper and second in circulation to The New Vision. The two papers dominate the print section of media in Uganda. Over the last decade, as Uganda's political opposition has gained strength, the Monitor newspaper has aligned itself more with the agenda of the opposition to counter the perceived government agenda fronted by the New Vision. This competition many times leads to entirely different aspects getting coverage in the five largest news publications in the country. For example, during the recent 2011 Walk To Work protests in the country, various government sources accused The Daily Monitor alongside other independent newspapers of having an anti government agenda and favoring the opposition and demonstrators.[1]

Besides these two newspapers, there are also other papers, such as Eihwa – a privately-owned newspaper published in the Runyankore/Runyakitara and Bukedde newspaper, which is a state owned daily published in the Luganda language. There is also a daily called Red Pepper that started out as a weekly tabloid but is now one of the leading daily newspapers. Other papers include The Weekly Observer, The Independent, The Razor among others. Tabloids abound, with sensationalism and soft erotica a common theme among tabloids like Onion and Entasi.

Besides newspapers, there are a number of online news websites. Key among these are PML Daily, and Education News Uganda, ChimpReports[2], Vanguard News Uganda,[3] Globe News, among others.[4] There are also a number of magazines that come out every month including Bride & Groom, which is printed by the state owned The New Vision; African Woman are also other popular magazine. Elyte magazine and Newslex Super Magazine is one of the new entertainment oriented magazines in the country today.


Uganda is now driving towards migrating from analog to digital TV broadcasting. The Uganda Communication Commission has launched a country-wide campaign to ensure that users switch to the standard. To access digital TV, users need to have digital-ready TV sets or purchase digital TV decoders. The Commission has licensed up to five firms to sell free-to-air decoders in the country.[5] Users also have the option of subscribing to Digital Pay TV service providers such as DSTV, GoTV, Zuku, SimbaTV and Startimes to access both paid-for and Free-to-air channels.[6]


See also: List of radio stations in Africa: Uganda

Like in television, radio was dominated by the state owned Radio Uganda up until the early 1990s when the first independent radio stations got licenses to operate. Sanyu fm and Capital fm are among the first and oldest radio stations in Uganda. Gradually other stations have joined the media industry and as of November 2013 there are well over 100 different radio stations on FM alone.

Some other popular stations include CBS, Simba, Super, Record FM and Dembe. Programming on radio is dominated by music, with most stations following a Top 40 format. Talk shows and comedy are also popular.

Radio is now embracing new kind of media and integrating with other communication channels. For instance Radio stations in Uganda integrate mobile technology in their programming to increase on audience engagement.[7] Listeners can call in to a talk show and contribute their own opinions about what's been talked about.

Radio stations are also using the Internet to widen their reach.[8] Most radio stations use online radio streaming services such as Radiogarden, Odyovi,, Streema, Streame,co, UGO to reach wider audiences that traditional broadcasting means don't, including Ugandans in the diaspora.


The internet as a media platform in Uganda is still quite new. Internet penetration levels are still very low when compared to other African countries. The recent Indian Ocean fiber optic cable project brought a lot of optimism and lead to an increased interest in the internet as a media platform.[9] It also led to investment with a number of local telecommunication companies investing into broadband and gprs subscription services. This has led to a surge in levels of internet penetration with almost anyone able to connect to the internet using simple USB dongles or even via mobile phones.

The recent Facebook deal with MTN Uganda made Facebook by far the most popular website in the country and a place where most young and working class individuals spend a lot of time. The hope is that these new opportunities will spur more individual investments in the internet sector. A number of the local newspapers operate newspapers online. These newspapers, particularly those of Monitor, New Vision and Newslex Point, are among the most popular Ugandan websites.

As of 2014, the Uganda Communication Commission(UCC) put mobile Internet subscriptions at 4,196,133 compared to 106,900 fixed Internet subscriptions.[10]

Media freedom

Despite the increased level of media freedom in Uganda over the last decade, there are still calls for more action from government by journalists and media houses to let the media express themselves freely.[11] The recent cases of when CBS radio was shut down by government and also when NTV was shut down by the government on grounds of dissent are prime examples of government pressure on media.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Walk To Work: "Journalists Slap A Ban On Government Activities Over Attacks",Uganda Radio Network, May 13, 2011, accessed August 13, 2011
  2. ^ "About Us". ChimpReports. 2014-07-23. Retrieved 2020-05-08.
  3. ^ "ABOUT US". Vanguard News. Retrieved 2020-05-08.
  4. ^ "Home". Globe News. Retrieved 2020-05-08.
  5. ^ Uganda approves five firms to deal in free-to-air decoders
  6. ^ Uganda Digital TV Migration: A beginner’s guide to switching from Analog to Digital TV
  7. ^ How the Mobile Phone changed the way we listen to Radio in Africa
  8. ^ Listen to Ugandan Radio online from these top 5 places
  9. ^ Business News: "EASSy cable to be online by 2010" Archived 2012-09-22 at the Wayback Machine,The New Vision, October 9, 2008, accessed August 13, 2011
  10. ^ Paul Bagyenda predicted the future of internet in Uganda 5 years ago
  11. ^ Media freedom: "Narrow Escape",Red Pepper, May 27, 2011, accessed August 13, 2011
  12. ^ ICT Africa: "NTV Uganda Shut Down a Second Time",Balancing Act Africa, October 13, 2006, accessed August 13, 2011