General News of Monday, 24 September 2018
Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) Sulemana Braimah has described the Ministry of Communications’ deal with StarTimes as bogus.
The Chinese multinational media company has landed a controversial Digital Terrestrial TV (DTT) network deal with government to extend satellite TV to over 300 villages across the country.
According to Deputy Communications Minister, George Andah, the agreement with StarTimes will enable Ghana secure a $19 billion loan from the China EXIM bank but some stakeholders, particularly the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) have advised government against wasting money on the deal.
Sulemana Braimah, who has strongly opposed the deal, reiterates the danger it poses for Ghana’s local media industry arguing that government is only embarking on a money wasting venture.
He stressed, “The US$3million (GHC14million) tax waiver granted StarTimes could provide more and better television experience to rural folks than what is to be offered by StarTimes if the same privilege is granted a local broadcaster.”
“They are supposed to provide digital TV experience to 6000 village households and some 900 public institutions. Just that? Well, imagine what that same GHC14 million could do if the same favour is granted a local broadcaster. For example, at even GHC300 per multi-TV set-top box, this amount can supply over 46,000 households with set-top boxes for free to access multi-tv channels and other Ghanaian FTA channels. Why not grant same tax exemption to local broadcasters. What is good for a Chinese company must be good for a Ghanaian company,” Mr. Braimah further explained in a Facebook post.