FRAUD | A man who allegedly falsified a statement that Uganda Telecommunications Commission (UCC) had banned Bobi Wine’s new hit song, “Tuliyambala Engule,” from airwaves is wanted to answer for peddling “fake news.”
The communications regulator wants Drake Lukonge Matovu to verify and explain the content he allegedly published on a Facebook page, ‘Media Vision Uganda,’ that has since been pulled down.
“The person mentioned above Drake Lukonge Matovu, alias Matoo Drake, (NIN CM85068102CAOK) is suspected of engaging in cyber-related violations and he is on the run. The authorities would like him to verify content published on the Facebook page, ‘Media Vision Uganda’ that has since shut down,” UCC said in a statement.
Drake Matoo is on the run, it added.
Last week, Media Vision Uganda published on its Facebook page a direct quote it attributed to UCC executive director Godfrey Mutabazi as banning the song from playing on radio and television stations in the country.
“Radios or TV stations that are going to play Bobi Wine’s new song ‘Tuliyambala Engule’ are at risk. That song should not be played anywhere, it’s treasonous and it disturbs the peace of the president. I even warn those who have it on their phones, we can track you and you will be forced to answer some questions,” the page quoted Eng Mutabazi as saying.
But UCC denied ever giving such a directive with Mutabazi himself appearing to have been taken aback by the allegations that he rubbished as smacking of attempts by Bobi Wine’s unscrupulous supporters to promote the song by peddling lies about it’s value.
“UCC has not banned the song as it is being reported on social media platforms,” Mutabazi said of the allegations attributed to him that went viral on social media.
“The commission takes exception to this criminality and assures the public that culprits will be identified and prosecuted in accordance to the law.”
The communications regulator has since declared war on publishers of “fake news” and warned all those who are in the act of creating, publishing and distributing “fake news” or stories to desist from such computer misuse.
“The public is advised that publishing false news is wrong, unlawful, unethical and defamatory,” a statement from the communication regulator reads in part.
“UCC has observed an increase in the incidences of fake news publications on digital platforms, where unscrupulous individuals deliberately misuse computer systems to distribute unverified content o misinform and mislead the public,” the statement adds.
This is not the first time that the communications body is coming out to crack the whip on fake news. Earlier last year, the regulator released a list of licensed online news sites and warned unlicensed news sites against publishing news, in a move it hoped would crack down on fake news.
The statement further urges the public to be vigilant and exercise due care by verifying the authenticity of the news stories and reports from official sources and authorized agencies before believing and acting on them.
Bobi Wine released the controversial song, ‘Tuliyambala Engule,’ a centuries-old hymn which loosely translates as “we shall wear the crown after victory,” at the turn of the year. The song has generated a lot of debate drawing in the clergies and political commentators alike.