General News of Thursday, 5 October 2017
The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) is expected to meet the National Communications Authority (NCA) to appeal the sanctions imposed on some FM stations in the country for various breaches.
GIBA in a communiqué said, it has gathered some evidence after engaging with the affected radio stations hence the need to meet the regulator on the matter.
“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,” GIBA said.
According to GIBA, ‘’it was looking forward to engaging the NCA on behalf of the affected stations over the revocation of their authorizations and imposition of “massive fines and penalties.”
The airwaves regulator last week published a list of 131 FM Authorisation Holders it has sanctioned for violating various aspects of the Electronics Communications Act (2009), Act 775.
A further 13 FM Authorisation Holders are said to have been issued with reprieves as pertains to their authorisations.
The NCA also revoked completely the authorisations of 21 FM stations whose authorisations had expired over several years and were operating illegally.
Accra-based Radio Gold, Atlantis Radio and Radio XYZ, 3-FM,were either fined or had their licenses revoked by the National Communications Authority (NCA) following the completion of a nationwide FM Spectrum Audit.
Radio XYZ was fined GHc 4,090,000, Atinka FM GHc 14,800,000, while Radio Gold and Atlantis Radio picked up the heftiest fines with GHc 61,330,000 and GHc 60, 350,000 respectively. The sanctions applied has met varied views with some describing it as a ’’draconian’’.
However, the Minister says the affected stations must comply with the sanctions and should they fail to comply, the NCA will close down their stations.
“We all need to recognize that the NCA has a mandate to regulate frequencies in this country and without adhering to those regulations, we run the risk of having it descend into jungle status.
“We spend valuable time in Parliament passing laws and we frequently bemoan our own inability or reluctance to enforce our own laws making them lose significance. That’s the difference between a civilized society and a state of nature,” she said “I think that the actions of the National Communications Authority (NCA) to enforce the Electronic Communications Act passed in 2008 by this august House, is a step in the right direction and ought to be commended by all right-thinking members of society.”
She added “as at the time the New Patriotic Party (NPP) took office, there was no frequency available in the country except for few in the Upper West and East and some parts of the Northern region.”
“The reason why the audit was conducted was to ensure that some sanity prevails in this space and it will not be limited to the FM stations.’’
“I think that is the only way that we can send a clear signal that we must make our laws work. It is critical that as in every civilised society, the rules and regulations that we all agree to, work and applied without fear or favour,” she stressed.