Government moves to introduce fund to support creative industry

Uganda Communications Commissions (UCC) has announced plans to unveil a Content Fund to support Ugandans involved in the creative sector.

The Commission said this in a statement in which it was discussing its role in the creative industry.

According to the blog, the fund is one of the many initiatives that are being created to develop the sector.

“… it takes not just talent but also good money to produce good quality content. Following years of discussions with relevant Government organs and partners, a Content Fund was recently agreed on,” reads the blog.

“This fund will support creative artists who have great ideas but lack the necessary funding to turn them into reality.”

UCC has over the years come up with initiatives to develop the arts industry. One of such projects is the Uganda Film Festival, which was rolled out to improve content and energise the industry.

Six years since its introduction, UCC says, both local and foreign judges have reported tremendous improvement in content quality over the last couple of years.

A few years ago, after learning that locally generated audio-visual content was finding it hard to compete with foreign content on local television, UCC sought to address this by introducing a minimum requirement of 70% local content on Free to Air television and 20% local content on Pay TV platforms.

But this has faced a bit of a drawback, with broadcasting operators complaining that most of the home-grown audio-visual content they were being urged to use is of poor quality.

And this is part of what the Content Fund is trying to solve: inject money into creatives to produce quality work.

UCC was not immediately available for further comment on the Fund.

Away from the above, the Commission has also joined partners such as Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and Uganda Performing Right Society (UPRS) in the fight against piracy and unlicensed operators so that creative artists can earn from their copyright loyalties.

However, UCC has recently come under fire as creatives punched holes in the Stage Play and Public Entertainment Rules of 2019, which they said is so restrictive.

A petition has been launched, calling for signatures to repeal the law.

However, UCC says “whatever input [it] made in the regulations was well informed and in good faith.”

“The goal was, and still is, to develop and not to destroy the industry as some critics have wildly claimed. Who would destroy an industry they have laboured so much to build?” says UCC in the blog.

UCC says it has helped to transform the industry from one that was dominated by foreign content six years ago to one where local content on free to air stations has increased from 30% in 2018 to 50% by the end of 2019 on average.

Some TV stations, the blog says, already boast of 100% local content, including a pay-TV channel.

To further support the industry, UCC in partnership with local cinemas in Kampala have screened at least 827 local films, which have been watched by more than 12,000 people. In addition, UCC has also popularised films in local communities through open mobile screenings.

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