More Radio Stations to Close Down as NCA Goes Tough
The National Communications Authority (NCA) says it will go ahead and take off air any radio station that does not comply with its regulations.
The NCA has already sanctioned 131 radio stations for violating certain aspects of the Electronics Communications Act (2009), Act 775.
According to the authorities, all it did was to enforce the rules and apply the requisite sanctions to defaulting companies as specified by law. It noted that Spectrum is finite and as such, those privileged to be allocated frequencies should respect the same rules which gave them that right.
Speaking exclusively to this media house, Deputy Minister of Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, said government was committed to making the country’s laws work and also building strong institutions.
“If those given frequencies do not respect the rules, should we just leave it to God and wring our hands? Heck no.” We don’t care whose ox is gored but the law should be no respecter of persons,” he said.
Though the opposition National Democratic Congress has raised concerns of a witch-hunt of pro-opposition stations, the deputy Information Minister said,” the law knows no political party or person. It’s the law. They should tell us whether we are right or wrong in relation to the law.”
Thirty-four of the sanctioned radio stations have already had their licenses revoked by the NCA for not renewing them even after several notices.
Owners of the radio stations sanctioned for operating with expired licenses, among others, will have to cough up about GHc1.18 billion.
Already, some civil society organizations have applauded and called for support for the NCA’s action.
IMANI Africa President, Franklin Cudjoe, believes Ghana would be better of if other state institutions went by the book in the manner the National Communications Authority’s (NCA) had done in sanctioning the 131 radio stations.
“It is a wakeup call and I suspect if every institution is doing same without any political motive, it’s the best way to go. What was the previous NCA doing that this new NCA wants to undo? It speaks volumes of the professionalism of the current NCA and its management,” he observed, pointing out that some of the stations were found to have been operating illegally for over 15 years.
The stations include Accra-based Radio Gold, Atlantis Radio, Radio XYZ, Atinka FM, and Vision 1 FM.
A further 13 FM Authorisation Holders have also been issued with reprieves as pertains to their authorisations.
Thirty-four radio stations have had their authorisations revoked completely for failing to renew their licences after they expired over several years.
The sanctions follow the completion of a nationwide FM Spectrum Audit conducted this year to determine compliance of Authorisation Holders with their Authorisation conditions and to determine which FM stations were in operations or otherwise, a statement released by the NCA on Thursday said.
Of the notable stations, Radio XYZ has been fined GH¢4,090,000, Atinka FM fined GH¢ 14,800,000 whiles Radio Gold and Atlantis Radio picked up the heftiest fines with GH¢61,330,000 and GH¢ 60,350,000 respectively.