General News of Saturday, 7 October 2017
The Ministry of Communication says it will move forcefully on seven radio stations whose authorisations have been revoked but are still broadcasting after Monday, October 9.
The National Communications Authority (NCA) last week published the names of 131 FM stations it has sanctioned for violating various aspects of the Electronics Communications Act (2009), Act 775.
The NCA, an agency under the Ministry, revoked completely the licenses of 21 radio stations whose authorisations had expired many years ago and were operating illegally. A further 13 radio stations were issued with reprieves for violating aspects of the Act.
However, according to the Communication Ministry, seven of the stations whose authorisations have been revoked are still airing programmes in flagrant disregard of the sanction by the airwaves regulator.
The Deputy Communication Minister, George Andah, says the continuous operations of these sanctioned radio station is a slap in the face of the regulator and frustrates calls for amnesty by the NCA.
“The Minister [Ursula Owusu] gave notice that we will work with the security agencies to basically shut them down within the law.
“I believe that the NCA is going to issue a final warning on Monday and after that, we will go ahead and do what we have to do to those stations,” he announced on news analysis programme, Newsfile, on the Joy News channel on MultiTV, Saturday.
Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kwaku Baako, has been vociferous in his calls for amnesty for the sanctioned stations.
He argues that because the NCA has failed to act for so long, it must tamper justice with mercy now that it has decided to act.“I think we should start afresh,” he insists.
“I am not talking law,” he admitted on Newsfile.
However, Mr Andah says the posture of some of the sanctioned radio stations does not make Mr Baako’s call appealing.
Mr Andah disagrees that the NCA is being harsh on the radio stations.
He counter-agues that experienced members of the NCA board and management are using the best approach they know will bring about adherence to rule of law.
“The NCA board and management know what they are doing. And they have stated clearly that in the past their position has been the soft-touch approach, where it is like ‘let us engage them more, let us give them a bit more time…’ we have gone that [path] and we haven’t gotten the result that is expected,”he said.
He said most of the radio stations are just refusing to heed to advice.
“You [radio stations] have breached the law, sanctions have been applied on you. Make an effort to engage with the NCA. Let the NCA management and board take a decision.
But you don’t sit down and go on radio stations as if you matter is sweet, and you expect that NCA or the Minister will come and reverse those sanction…if you make an effort, the board can then decide, based on the information they have available to them. In all fairness, I believe that that is the way to go,” Mr Andah surmised.