Closure of131 radio stations NCA acted within the law– Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

The Minister for Communications, Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has stressed the need for proper regulations and management of the scarce and finite resource― spectrum― to ensure an orderly broadcasting environment.

 

Hon. Mrs Owusu-Ekuful, who was making a statement on the floor of Parliament in Accra on Friday, noted that this need was backed by law― the Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (Act 775) ― which gave the National Communications Authority (NCA) the mandate to manage spectrum and issue, suspend or revoke frequency authorizations.

 

She said the NCA was mandated to regulate the radio spectrum designated or allocated for use by broadcasting organisations and providers of broadcasting services in accordance with the standards and requirements of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and its Radio Regulations as agreed to or adopted by Government.

 

It was against this backdrop, she said, that 131 radio stations, which had failed, refused or neglected to abide by the conditions for the grant of the frequency authorisations by the NCA, were sanctioned. “They were identified as defaulters after the audit and sanctioned,” she added.

 

Mrs Owusu-Ekuful was emphatic that the NCA’s action, in no way, suppressed free speech but rather set to enforce regulations and ensuring compliance with the law.

 

She gave the assurance that she would review the sanctions, when petitioned, per the dictates of the law, adding that, all these stations must demonstrate the willingness to respect and obey the rules, going forward.

 

In a contribution to the statement, Hon. Sam George, Member of Parliament, Ningo-Prampram, said the NCA should avert to make enquiries on the authorisation renewals when these media houses paid their yearly regulatory fees as well as create incentives as a means of supporting media establishments which were reeling from increasing overhead costs and a crowded market space.

 

Over radio 400 stations are currently operating legally in the country. Those sanctioned published list contained authorisation holders who had flouted various conditions of their authorisation―and the law prescribes the requisite punishment and actions for these infractions.

 

Source: ISD (Eva Frempon-Ntiamoah)