General News of Sunday, 1 October 2017
The Executive Secretary for the Media Foundation For West Africa, Sulemana Braimah, believes the National Communications Authority’s statement backing the sanction on the 131 radio stations is unclear and must be revisited.
“As much as it’s a law the NCA must revisit it… Indeed the NCA says if an entity fails to compel with the regulations the NCA is required to notify them, and the law says not less than thirty days for example” he said on Eyewitness News.
“Why would the NCA sit down over the years, and in their own statement they indicated that some of these affected media organizations had actually failed to renew or pay whatever it is for as many as 17 years. So you ask yourself, all these years what the NCA was doing?”
He said the statement did not adequately distinguish between “what the reasons are for those that have been shut down, or those whose licenses have been revoked, and those for whom these heavy prices have been imposed.” Mr. Braimah added that, this action by the NCA is clear that some media institutions are inefficient, and that the NCA wants to stop the operations of these media stations.
“I must say that it’s a very troubling development, particularly as this statement came on 28th September, a day set aside to mark Universal Access to Information Day. Having said that, I think the development also exposes the inefficiencies of our institutions and the non-compliance by institutions in this case media organizations for that matter”
“If you look at the figures, some have to pay as much as 60-something million Ghana cedis, it’s just as saying that we want to shut you down because there is no way radio stations in this country can afford that much. And even look at the electronic communications act for example, it talks about fees that have to be imposed for individual licenses,and must be such that they have to be compensated with the economic value of the licenses for which the fees are being imposed.”
Stations also at fault
Mr. Braimah further questioned the institutions involved for not playing their part as the licenses stated and suggested ways to resolve the issue.
“Why would you go for a license and fail to comply with the license conditions until such a time that these crippling sanctions are being imposed… There needs to be some dialogue, some consensus building to see how the matter can be resolved amicably.”
The NCA sanctioned some FM stations by revoking the licenses of 34 stations for operating illegally following the expiration of their licenses.
Owners of the radio stations sanctioned for operating with expired licenses as well as other offenses would have to cough up about GHc1.18 billion.