Authorities in Entebbe Municipality have banned outdoor megaphone community radios commonly known as bizindalo over noise pollution.
In a November, 1 notice to all operators and proprietors, all open air megaphones in Division B in Entebbe Municipality have been banned following complaints from the general public about noise pollution accruing from unregulated sound production.
“I regret to inform you that the council has put an indefinite halt to your service in public interest. You are hereby directed to disband your installation forthwith in honour of this directive,” the notice by the Senior Assistant Town Clerk, Dan Fred Lutaaya reads in part.
The same has since been copied to Entebbe mayor, chairman for Division B, Senior Environment Officer, enforcement assistant for Division B and all LC one chairpersons in the area.
According to Lutaaya, the outdoor community radios make a lot of noise and disrupt people, especially at night.
“Whereas people want to rest, the megaphones make noise. Entebbe is home to make high profile people including State House who don’t want such megaphones that host people who speak for the sake of speaking. The ban has security issues behind it,” he said.
According to the Assistant Town Clerk only megaphones for places of worship, especially mosques have been allowed to operate since they are switched on during specific times.
He advised that anyone who has any information to communicate can make use of social media platforms, other than outdoor community radios that cause noise pollution.
“The world has advanced these days. Previously, only the rich owned smartphones but currently, even house girls have them. Ways of communication have changed and we too have to change with the times. That fashion of megaphones is outdated. Use other platforms of communication like social media.”
Outdoor community radios
Outdoor community radios also known as bizindalo are mostly used to make announcements of lost or found property, market information, talk shows, community mobilization, education information, health information, local employment opportunities and lost children among others.
Their megaphones are usually erected on trees, poles or other raised grounds.
In 2017, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), a government body which regulates the broadcasting industry banned the community radios for operating in contravention of the law and causing noise pollution.
in the directive, UCC said a number of people have established illegal public broadcasting apparatuses which had become a public nuisance and an infringement on the rights of citizens to peace and quiet in the respective communities.
Section 26 (1) of the UCC Act provides that a person shall not install or operate a television station, radio station, or any related broadcasting apparatus without a license issued by the commission.
However, despite the ban, many of these outdoor community radios have continued to broadcast, especially in rural areas where the enforcement is weak.