General News of Monday, 4 December 2017
The Electronic Communications Tribunal has ordered the National Communication Authority (NCA) to suspend the sanctions against the 131 FM stations it cited for breaching section 13 of the Electronic Communications Act (2009), Act 775.
The move by the NCA in October followed the completion of a nationwide FM Spectrum Audit conducted this year to determine compliance of Authorization Holders with their Authorization conditions and to determine which FM stations were in operations or otherwise.
The exercise was criticized then by the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) as an attempt to stifle media freedom, and that it was politically motivated.
But the Communication Minister, Ursula Owusu Ekuful rubbished as laughable the claim by the NDC.
However, the tribunal set up in 2016 and headed by the former Supreme Court judge Justice Dartey Baah on Monday in a case brought before it by the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) against the NCA in relation with the sanctions against the FM stations, rule that the implementation of the sanctions should be halted until the case is fully determined.
Speaking on Morning Starr on the sanctions in October, Mrs. Ekuful said the sanctions were long overdue.”
“We all should respect the laws, rules and regulations that we have decided to guide our conduct as a civilized emerging democracy and there are compromises that one has to make for the general good and so we agreed that we will curtail some of our freedom actions to enable us all get on quite well,” she told Morning Starr Host Francis Abban Wednesday October 4, 2017.
She said it was the matter of applying “our laws…and I think once we all start realizing this myth or fiction of applying our laws with a human face which has been the shield behind which people have hidden to commit all manner of atrocities against the state, and once we move beyond that and look in the mirror and see ourselves as we really are, acting illegally for a very long time. Because once we pull out the political card if it is the perceived station which favours your position; once they are touched, you would say they are being politically persecuted and if it is their government in power it means that they are untouchable beyond sanctions. They get away with wrongdoings. Then we are never going to get anywhere.”