General News of Tuesday, 3 October 2017
Demonstrate good faith by paying a substantial percentage of monies owed the state and we’ll be open to negotiations, that’s the word of the Communications Minister to some 131 radio stations that have been shut down by the National Communications Authority for various infractions.
According to Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the actions of the sanctioned radio stations years past makes it difficult for the NCA to ‘trust them enough’ to make arrangements for a payment plan in order for them to settle all outstanding debts to the state.
Speaking to the media in Parliament Tuesday afternoon, the minister said, “if you have flouted the rules for 16-years, what comfort does it give us that you will abide by any arrangement which is put in place. By your own conduct, you make it difficult for the organisation to consider entering into terms with you but we are opening to discussions”.
She added that “they must demonstrate good faith by paying a substantial portion of the fines that have already been levied then we can consider entering into payment terms for the reminder”.
Ursula Owusu-Ekuful also warned radio stations whose authorisation had been revoked to stop operation or have the NCA forcefully close them down.
The National Communications Authority (NCA) lastweek sanctioned a total of 131 FM Authorisation Holders found to have committed various infractions pertaining to their authorisations to operate as contained in Section 13 of the Electronics Communications Act (2009), Act 775.
This followed the completion of a nationwide FM Spectrum Audit conducted this year to determine compliance of Authorisation Holders with their Authorisation conditions and to determine which FM stations were in operations or otherwise. The FM Spectrum Audit also forms part of a wider and on-going audit of all services regulated by the NCA, including TV and ISP services.
Other radio stations also had their authorisations revoked completely since their authorisations had expired for several years and were operating illegally.
They had also failed to apply for renewal 3 months before expiry of existing Authorisation and as stipulated in their Authorisation. The FM broadcasting stations in question also did not respond to a notice the NCA sent to them to regularise their operations earlier this year.