11 May 2019

Ghana: Review Decision to Shut Down Radio Gold, XYZ - GJA Urges NCA

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has called on the National Communication Authority (NCA) to review its decision to close down the two Accra-based radio stations, Radio Gold and Radio XYZ.

It further urged the NCA to give the two defaulting companies a lifeline to renew their authorisation and operate.

A statement signed and issued by the President of GJA, Roland Affail Monney, in Accra yesterday, also called on all operators of broadcasting stations whose authorisation had expired or were in default of regulations governing their operations to rectify same in order to avoid sanction by the NCA.

Stating reasons for the call on the NCA, the statement noted that, the decision to close down only two stations suggested that all broadcasting stations in the country had valid authorisation to operate.

In the interest of transparency, the statement said it would be prudent for the NCA to publish the authorisation status of all broadcast operators in the country in order to elevate its decision above reproach.

"The NCA may not be under any legal obligation to do so but it is enjoined by public interest to act in such manner," the statement added.

It explained that the action by NCA also had the tendency to undermine media freedom in the country as enshrined under Chapter 12 of the 1992 Constitution.

"We believe the framers of the 1992 Constitution had very good reasons to grant such elaborate freedoms to the media, although with responsibility. And nothing must be done to upstage the mindset of the constitutional framers," the statement said.

The NCA on Thursday, shut down the two stations for operating with expired authorisations.

According to the NCA in a statement, the decision was in line with Regulations 65 (1) of the Electronic Communications Regulations, 2011, L. I. 1991, which states that "A person shall not use a radio frequency without authorisation from the Authority".

The action was also in view of the decision of the Electronic Communications Tribunal (ECT), which in 2018 reviewed the status of expired FM Radio Broadcasting Authorisations and ruled, among others, that companies whose authorisations had expired reverted to the same position as a fresh applicant.

It encouraged all licence and authorisation holders to ensure compliance with the various terms of their licences and authorisations and as well as the relevant regulations.

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