Television programming regulation : examining the policy implementation of local content quotas in Uganda
Imokola, John Baptist
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This study analyzes how television local content regulation is working in a Ugandan multi-cultural and free economy television industry, perspectives of the different stakeholders, opportunities accruing from the policy and implementation challenges. Guided by the Circuit of Culture theory, supported Critical Political Economy (CPE) theory, the study used key informant interviews, focus group discussions and document analysis to gather insights and perspectives to the local content quotas. The study finds that Uganda Communications Commission, the television stations, and independent content producers have reacted in different ways, such as increased production and acquisition of local content, to implement television local content quotas in Uganda. There are diverse perspectives to television local content quotas, with audiences appreciating the local content quotas policy, although they have mixed feelings about its implementation. There are several opportunities that the television industry, independent content producers and the country generally have benefited from the policy, and more opportunities to be exploited if the policy is improved. These, despite several structural, conceptual, economic and political challenges to its successful implementation. The major challenges have to do with the conceptualization of ‘local content’, and the influence of globalization and economic factors on such a cultural policy. These findings can be discussed using the different moments of the Circuit of Culture theory – identity, representation, regulation, production and consumption, and the core elements of the Critical Political Economy theory. To address the identified challenges and generally improve LCQs implementation, this study makes recommendations to various stakeholders, including a proposal for a new definition of ‘local content’. The study concludes that the local content quotas have been implemented in varying ways; with diverse perspectives from stakeholders. The policy however needs to be implemented in consideration of the existing structural and conceptual underpinnings.