Wereko-Brobbey Sues GBC, Three Others


Public broadcaster – the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation has been sued with three others over the rebirth of the TV License fees.

The former CEO of the Volta River Authority (VRA), Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby, has also sued the National Media Commission, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association and the Attorney General at the High Court.

According to the writ, Wereko-Brobby is asking for an order of perpetual injunction which will restrain GBC as the 1st defendant from collecting the TV license fees from August 1, 2015.

According to him, the formula for sharing the fees which will be collected is unlawful and violates LI 226, NRCD 89 as well as NLCD 226.

He contends that per Section 10(c) of the NLCD 226, the TV license fees which will be collected by the 1st defendant belong solely to the 1st defendant, therefore, the decision to share it among the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd defendants is unlawful.

In December 2014, the Fees and Charges (Amendment) Instrument, 2014 (LI 2216) was passed which saw an increment in the TV License fees.

The plaintiff is however of the view that the passage of the LI did not appoint the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants as licensing authorities in addition to the 1st defendant as provided for by Section 13 of the NLCD 89.

He also contends that the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants have not been appointed by the Minister of Finance by any Legislative Instrument to be a licensing authority as provided for by the NLCD 89; particularly when the 3rd defendant has an association and/or its individual members are not statutory corporations.

Background
From August 1, 2015, the GBC will begin the collection of TV license fee to wean them off government subvention.

Many Ghanaians are kicking against the decision because according to them, the state broadcaster must find creative ways to fund its operations rather than relying on the public who own television sets to support them.

Domestic TV users with one set will pay GH¢36 for a licence annually, instead of the old fee of 30Gp. Those who use more than two TV sets will be required to pay GH¢60 for a licence every year.

Fees have also been reviewed upwards for commercial users such as hotels from GH¢2 to GH¢3 per month per TV set. Licensed TV dealers such as repairers would pay GH¢5 per month, while retailers and sales outlets would pay GH¢20 per month as TV licence fee.

Sharing formula
A sharing formula has also been developed to ensure all stakeholders in the broadcasting industry benefit from the funds which will be generated.

Out of the amount, GBC will take the largest share of 72%, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association will take 15%, the Media Development Fund will take 4%, the National Media Commission will take 4%, Film will take 2% and for managing the collection, GBC will take an extra 2% which will bring their number to 75%.


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