General News of Monday, 2 October 2017
Vice President of the Ghana Independent Broadcasting Association (GIBA) has described as harsh and laughable, the over ¢1.2 billion fines slapped on some radio stations by the National Communication Authority (NCA).
Ernest Boateng said the Authority did not give the stakeholders the opportunity to give their view to as a measure to remedy the situation.
The NCA slapped fines on some radio stations for committing various infractions pertaining to their authorization to operate.
Subsequent to that, the Authority revoked the licenses of some stations while others were fined as contained in Section 13 of the Electronics Communications Act (2009), Act 775.
However, speaking Monday on Newsdesk on Joy News TV, Mr. Boateng accused the NCA of not following due process to arrive at the various sanctions.
“If you look at the same law that they [NCA] are citing; it states that ‘where the Authority decides to suspend or revoke a licence, they will give the licensee the authorisation to present his views to remedy the situation which has occasioned the situation or fine and to submit to the Authority within a specified time a written statement of objections’
“I believe that all these were not applied and so in our view, it is quite harsh and rushed,” he added.
According to Mr Boateng, the NCA failed to show how it computed the ¢1.2 billion fine and knowing the state of the industry, the Authority knows it is not possible to pay that.
“In effect, you have shut the doors to these stations ever coming back,” he said.
Meanwhile a representative of the Ghana Community Radio Network, Kofi Larweh, also said the sanctions carried out against community radio stations will affect the communities negatively.
Also, the Minority in Parliament has added its voice to the ban describing it as “draconian.”
In a statement last Friday, the group insisted the action by the regulator is “troubling” and may have “grave implications for press freedom and media pluralism.”
“We are deeply troubled by this development which has grave implications for press freedom and media pluralism.These actions by the NCA threaten to roll back the gains made so far in entrenching a vibrant media culture.
“While we acknowledge the NCA’s right to regulate the communications sector in a manner that ensures compliance with appropriate regulations, we are alarmed by the sweeping and heavy-handed approach to the current exercise,” the Minority said.