NCA sanctions: Kweku Baako pleads for clemency, GIBA steps in

General News of Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Source: Myjoyonline.com

2017-10-04

Newsfile Kweku Baako1Editor in chief of the New Crusading Guide, Kweku Baako

Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper, Kweku Baako is pleading for mercy for the 131 radio stations that have been sanctioned by the National Communications Authority (NCA).

Although he acknowledges the objectives NCA seeks to achieve by the crackdown, the sanction and fines he believes are too punitive.

Speaking on Peace FM’s morning show ‘Kokroko’ on Wednesday, the veteran journalist and an ardent advocate for press freedom said: “I feel uncomfortable when the media is touched.”

“I know this is strictly business, but it is the kind of business within which free speech operates, it is a very delicate balance. If you ask me, I will say let’s give them amnesty, let’s start afresh,” he added.

The 131 radio stations, located in almost all regions across the country, are said to have committed several offences which have necessitated the NCA’s action.

“I know this is strictly business, but it is the kind of business within which free speech operates, it is a very delicate balance. If you ask me, I will say let’s give them amnesty, let’s start afresh,” he added.

The 131 radio stations, located in almost all regions across the country, are said to have committed several offences which have necessitated the NCA’s action.

The NCA has also asked 16 others to renew their application and pay application fees, 15 to have their application processed after payment of fines, 11 have been ordered to pay for license renewal and eight to pay fines before their stations are inspected.

In addition, two radio stations are to submit a renewal application within 30 days and one has been ordered to settle debt before license renewal.

In all, the radio stations have been fined to a tune of GHS1.24 billion.

The NCA in a statement announcing the sanctions, said the sanctioned radio stations had failed to renew their licenses for a period of 17 years and per the Authority’s governing laws, GHS10,000 is charged daily for stations that refuse to renew their license after expiration.

Mr Baako was of the view that perhaps the issue of licensing may have to be re-engineered but in the meantime, he believes that the NCA and managers of the sanctioned stations can work out something.

“To close down a media house is quite worrying. I can understand the legal arguments and the impunity on the part of the owners not adhering to the rules.

“I am not going to sit here and rationalise or justify that impunity, but, I am from a very sentimental point of view pleading with the NCA to grant amnesty,” he said.

Let’s start all over again and see how that will go, he pleaded.

GIBA’s intervention

Meanwhile, the Executive Council and Council of Elders of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) after meeting the aggrieved members who have been sanctioned, says it will meet with the NCA to discuss the issue.

In statement copied to Joy News, GIBA says “We have written to the NCA requesting for a meeting on Friday, October 6, 20171 to discuss the issues emanating from our preliminary investigations carried out.”

In the interim, however, it has advised its members affected by the sanction to “submit to the GIBA National Secretariat all relevant documentation in relation to the spectrum/regulatory payments and other complaints.

“Members are encouraged to continue trusting in the Leadership in resolving the issues and to remain calm and stay any individual action until after the attempts to dialogue with the NCA.”

Below is a copy of the statement:

On Monday, October 2, 2011, the Executive Council together with the GIBA Council of Elders met to deliberate on the way forward in relation to the nationwide FM broadcasting audit by the NCA which resulted in the revocation of authorisations and imposition of massive fines and penalties on some members.

The Leadership of GIBA wishes to inform Members that:

We have interacted with a lot of our members who expressed displeasure over the sanctions meted out to them by the NCA. We have thus collected evidence from some of these members which indicate the need to engage the NCA to properly address the issues of the affected members. The Members have therefore mandated the leadership of GIBA to intervene on their behalf in this matter.

We have written to the NCA requesting for a meeting on Friday, October 6, 20171 to discuss the issues emanating from our preliminary investigations carried out.

In the interim, other members who have been affected are requested to submit to the GIBA National Secretariat all relevant documentation in relation to the spectrum/regulatory payments and other complaints.

Members are encouraged to continue trusting in the Leadership in resolving the issues and to remain calm and stay any individual action until after the attempts to dialogue with the NCA.

We are following all due processes to see an amicable and fair/just solution to this situation.

We believe there are issues that need to be discussed following the actions of the NCA and these can be resolved through dialogue.

The GIBA National Secretariat will continue to keep members updated on developments as they unfold.

Signed:

Andrew Danso-Aninkora

President

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