Thursday, January 18, 2007


At first, I thought it was the result of a technical problem but when I noticed that it was repeated over and over again, I was shocked to conclude that it is deliberate. The pay television service, Multichoice’s DSTV, actually erases the word “God” in the phrase “Oh my God” in many of the programmes in its channels! When characters in these programmes use the phrase, it comes out as “oh my ---!”. While I commend Multichoice for being sensitive enough to extend such treatment to most forms of bad language, in Uganda, for their information, “God” is not an offensive or inappropriate word. I certainly cannot see how a phrase like “let’s have sex” can be deemed to be less offensive than “oh my God”.

God is so prominent and mainstream in Uganda that no official national function is without a call to Him in prayer. He is in our national motto, ‘For God and My Country’ and the first stanza of Uganda’s national anthem is a prayer to Him as seen in the opening lines, ‘Oh Uganda, may God uphold thee …’. “God” in Uganda is a politically correct word and I find it more of an offence and outrightly disrespectful for Multichoice to keep erasing it as if it is some kind of scary infectious disease. The Media Council ought to look into this.

Another issue for the Media Council is the airing of two programmes on the same DSTV service with heavy homosexual content. They include A Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and The L Word. These programmes might be okay in Multichoice’s mother country, South Africa, but I think they have no place in Uganda. They glorify homosexuality which is a practice that is not only a crime here, but also socially unacceptable. In fact, with the recognition of homosexual relations in law and homosexuality becoming more fashionable in their country, DSTV and other South African companies are a possible platform for the launch of that abominable practice into Uganda and Africa in general.

I suggest that the Media Council build capacity to help it censor programmes with homosexual content from Uganda’s airwaves. It should install hotlines through which the public can report the airing of any programmes with offensive content, which should be investigated before action is taken against the responsible station. The mass media is a very important tool that has become very influential in all aspects of society. We must ensure that it is insulated as much as possible from all the negative forces that are trying to use it to pollute our society.

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