General News of Friday, 7 July 2017
More than 140 radio stations out of the 354 in operation throughout the country face severe sanctions for various infractions of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775).
The stations, most of which are bigwigs within the industry, have been notified by the National Communications Authority (NCA) to fully comply with their licence regulations within 30 days or face the full sanction as specified in the Act.
The Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, who disclosed this when she inaugurated an eight-member board of the NCA in Accra yesterday, indicated that the stations affected had been duly notified of their infractions in line with the procedures spelt out in the Act.
She said the stations did not take advantage of the 30-day notice period to make good their infractions “and I believe the law indicates that once the authority takes a decision, it gives them 30 days’ notice of its intention to sanction them.”
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said: “The infractions were noticed after an audit conducted into the state of authorisations in this area”.
According to her, some of the obligations regarding frequency authorisation were that “A holder of a frequency authorisation shall pay the fees specified by the authority; strictly adhere to the authorised frequency band; not assign the frequency authorisation without the written approval of the Authority; on a request made by the President and subject to the Constitution co-operate with the government in matters of national security, and observe the Regulations made under this Act and the conditions of the authorisation.”
She said the radio stations seemed to have gone against most of the licence regulations, including operating beyond a specified kilometre radius.
For instance, most of them operating in Accra can be heard in other regions, a practice which is against the licence regulations.
The sanctions to be meted out to them will include revocation of licences, penalty fines, suspension of service over a period, seizure and confiscation of equipment or a term in prison.
The eight-member board is chaired by Mr Kweku Sakyi-Addo, a broadcaster and former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Chamber of Telecommunications.
Members are Mr Joseph Anokye, Director-General of the NCA; Mr Bernard Aidoo Forson, Mr Philip Asare Kwame Ayensu, Mrs Susan-Barbara Adjorkor Boye Kumapley, Mr Paul Adom-Otchere and Mr David Gyewu.
The communications minister urged the members of the board to fully collaborate with the ministry and its sector agencies to enable them to discharge their duties to benefit the entire industry.
“There are calls for a review of certain aspects of our national telecommunications policies with regard to the implementation of the outcome of the World Conference of International Telecommunications Regulations (WCIT-2012) vis-á-vis Ghana’s WTOs commitments,” she said.
Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said: “It is my expectation that the NCA will conduct a thorough examination of the subject and the implications on our national development for the consideration of the government”.
Mr Sakyi-Addo, for his part, thanked the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for the confidence reposed in him and the other members of the board and pledged their commitment to discharge its duties without fear or favour to take the industry to greater heights.