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Parliament Invites Ursula For Probe Over StarTimes Deal

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The Minority in Parliament has hinted at dragging Minister of Communication, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, before the select committee on communication, to explain the details of the controversial deal with Chinese firm StarTimes.

Minority Chief Whip Muntaka Mubarak said in an interview on Monday, 24 September said that it is important for Mrs Owusu-Ekuful to address the house on the matter, saying she must not feel it is a personal attack on her.

The Chinese company has secured a deal with government that will see it extend satellite TV to over 300 villages across the country.

The communications ministry believes the move will help Ghanaians in rural communities to become alert on national issues and be involved in development since they have will access to content about national projects.

However, the association of independent broadcasters have kicked against the deal raising fears it will take the right of broadcasting from local hands.

“We have asked members on our side, and I want to believe that many members even on the Majority side in good fate, want to listen to the official positions, then they can react. We are hopeful that it will happen this week then they will seek the help of the Minister to come and give them further and better particulars,” -Hon Muntaka said.

He further urged Ursula to take the criticisms in good fate.

“We are asking our members to go get the official documentation, based on the official documentation we will respond officially. But primarily I don’t think it’s a good thing. And I want to urge my colleague, the Minister of Communication to stop personalizing things. When people are pointing to you the dangers, just pause, listen and interrogate more, but don’t be annoyed and be talking as if you are trying to pick a fight. It’s not about fighting; it’s about the destiny of Ghana”he said.

Meanwhile, former communications minister Dr. Edward Omane Boamah has urged the government to ensure an open playing field for both the Chinese and locals over the digital space contract.

“We have been here before! The Chinese Government is supporting StarTimes to penetrate the African market. What is the Government of Ghana doing to promote Ghanaians in broadcasting? I contend that instead of adopting high-handedness as a tool to whip groups and individuals who do not support the StarTimes deal, Government should consider doing the following:

” Immediately ensure mutually beneficial engagements with all stakeholders in order to recalibrate the pathway for the DTT process” – Dr. Omane Boamah wrote among other suggestions  in a statement.

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