National Sports Act 2023: Media for News Purposes vs Commercial

The new National Sports Act gives media every right to continue executing their work professionally.

The Sports fraternity celebrated news of H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni when he assented to the National Sports Bill. The archaic 1964 Sports Act is no more.

However, there have been debates already in various media platforms that have left some media practitioners worried about their professional jobs; Media reporting for news purposes vs Media houses seeking Commercial rights (free or paid for) to improve their revenue streams.

There has been too much confusion with people’s opinions being mixed with the media executing their daily work of reporting, informing and the media houses fighting to enjoy free commercial rights to broadcast events of sports federations.

The granting of broadcasting rights for sport events on an exclusive basis is undoubtedly an established commercial practice globally.

The media houses in Uganda know about this and have been enjoying exclusive commercial and media rights to sports and non-sports events.

The new Sports Act will open up many eyes of the Sports leaders and how they will engage with the media. There won’t be any hullaballoo.

However, media covering these events for news purposes are never stopped and no Sports Federation will take that route. Some Sports Federation like FUFA have assigned media relations officers to handle any issues in line with media covering their events for news purposes.

And those planning to execute anything beyond news, they are forwarded to the Commercial division (marketing, communication and brand).

The new Sports Act is actually spelling out what is needed in-case anyone toils the route for commercial and media rights of any sports event.

Motorsport, Boxing, Volleyball, Table Tennis, football, Rugby and basketball have existing TV and radio partnerships but have never blocked the media from covering their events for news purposes.

Television and media organisations pay huge sums of money for the exclusive rights to broadcast top sporting events live. FUFA and other sports federations in Uganda never asks media to pay for accreditation to cover an event for news purposes.

The Sports media are guided under the terms and conditions laid out for an applicant who is interested to cover an event as a Sports Journalist for news purposes to inform, educate and entertain.

However, many media houses perform other functions; acquiring media and commercial rights at a fee to keep in the business.

Broadcasting rights also help boost other revenue streams for a media house. Advertising, corporate sponsorship deals and naming rights, all of which bring added value to the media house.

The Media are players and partners in promotion of sports.
Promotion of commercial properties can be done professionally through proper authorisation like accreditation, engagements and for those in need of media and commercial rights with a value attached to them will be asked to deal with Commercial directors of the Sports Federations.

A glance at Article 68 of the National Sports Act 2023

Prohibition of electronic media production of sporting events and competitions
(1) A person who, without the authorisation of a National Sports Association or a National Sports Federation, captures by camera, the still or moving pictures or records by an audio recorder, activities at an event or competition organised by a National Sports Association or a National Sports Federation, for commercial purposes commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to a fine not exceeding one hundred and twenty currency points or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years, or both.
(2) Court may, in addition to the penalty imposed under subsection (1), order the person to pay the affected National Sports Association or National Sports Federation, damages and compensation for the loss suffered by the National Sports Association or the National Sports Federation.

Ahmed Hussein
FUFA Communications Director



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