General News of Thursday, 5 October 2017
The Minority Spokesperson for Communications, Alhaji A. B. A. Fuseini, believes the National Communications Authority’s clamp down on the 131 radio stations for various infractions could taint Ghana’s democracy.
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 or suffer a shutdown.
34 radio stations have already had their licenses revoked by the NCA for not renewing them even after several notices.
Speaking on Eyewitness News, Alhaji Fuseini held that, Ghana had a reputation to protect in the eyes of the world.
“I have just returned from Korea and I am telling you that Ghana was touted as one of the beacons of democracy on the African continent, and that we have free media and hundreds of radio stations.”
“So if you were to hear that all of a sudden, 131 radio stations are being closed in Ghana, what signal is that going to send to the international community and the comity of nations that cherish Ghana as a beacon of hope and democracy,” the MP questioned.
He admitted that there were issues with the various stations falling foul of the Electronics Communications Act (2009), but urged some restraint from the NCA.
The NCA has been urged to meet the offending companies halfway, and maybe adopt a payment plan to ease the pressure on the stations.
“Let them get compliance, let them pay and then continue to exist and contribute their quota to the right to freedom of expression in this country,” Alhaji Fuseini urged.
He also reiterated the sentiment that the NCA was being unfair by drop, in some cases, 17 years worth of penalties on some stations at a go.
“You cannot pile them for over a decade and all of a sudden come and say you want to lump all of them at a go and ask them to pay. That is the problem we have… it’s like looking for an excuse to legislate somebody out of existence.”