Applaud NCA for applying the Law on Radio Stations – Minister

Photo credit: Brand South Africa

The Minister for Communications, Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has said Ghanaians must acknowledge and applaud the National Communications Authority (NCA) for sanctioning 131 radio stations, that have flouted the law.

In a statement on the Spectrum Audit carried out and actions taken by the NCA, on the floor of Parliament, the Minister said ‘we cannot continue to flout our laws and vilify those who attempt to apply their regulations.’

She explained that the NCA, in March this year announced that it was conducting a spectrum audit, and a notice in this regard was published in the Daily Graphic edition of Thursday, 9th March, 2017, stating the objectives of the audit.

She added that at the end of the audit, letters were sent to all defaulting FM stations, however, they failed to rectify the identified defaults.

The Minister also stated that 131 radio stations have failed, refused or neglected to abide by the conditions for the grant of frequency authorisations by the NCA, and have been sanctioned in accordance with the same laws which gave them the right to operate in the first place.

She said they were identified as defaulters after the audit and were accordingly, sanctioned. She stressed that over 400 stations are currently operating legally and have not been affected in any way.

She further indicated that the law prescribes the requisite punishment and actions for these infractions, adding that it is absurd to even suggest that the 131 offending stations have been targeted for political reasons. She said if any of them feel they have not gone contrary to their authorisation, they can raise that with the NCA and it will be dealt with.

The Minister stated that actions taken to enforce statute and judicial decisions cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be termed political persecution, acts in violation of free expression or threats to press freedom.

She said while there have been complaints about the scale of fines, she believes they are commensurate with the infractions committed, asking, that how can a station operate for years without bothering to pay the renewal and other fees? She explained that these fines were mandated by law and are designed to be punitive and a deterrent, adding that the NCA did not arbitrarily set these fines nor make these decisions.

She also indicated that the same law that gives the NCA the power to sanction, gives the Minister the power to review the sanctions when petitioned, adding that she has received some petitions on this matter and they will be reviewed on a case by case basis.

The Minister added that even though she is inclined to deal a little leniently with the community radio stations they will pay a significant fine, stressing that all these stations must demonstrate the willingness to respect and obey the rules going forward.


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