The Akufo Addo government says the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has no hand in the shutting down of the two Accra based radio stations, Radio Gold and Radio XYZ.
Radio Gold and Radio XYZ had their machines turned off in the afternoon of Thursday, May 09, 2019 when they were in the middle of a live broadcast of a Press conference by the opposition NDC party to respond to the CID letter inviting their National Chairman Ofosu Ampofo over alleged Kidnappings and market infernos.
Political watchers who have been monitoring the posture of the Akufo Addo government towards these radio stations ever since it assumed the reins of power, have not ruled out possible political soiled reasons for that action.
However, the Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has denied that the decision taken by the National Communication Authority (NCA) on behalf of government had anything to do with the political affiliation of the two media houses under question.
Speaking in an interview on Eye Witness News on Citi FM on Thursday evening, the Minister explained that the briefing he received from the NCA indicated that their action was in respect to the enforcement of a ruling by the Electronic Communication Tribunal (ECT).
According to Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the ruling of the ECT is to the effect that persons who are using the spectrum without authorization, should be caused to cease the use of that spectrum until they reapply for authorization to use these spectra.
He added that the exercise has just begun and that there are others which may follow suit soon.
“It is my understanding that it is an exercise that has commenced and it is going to continue. I am sure if by the end of the exercise no other station or no other user of spectrum as originally envisaged then that view will be justified. But indeed if the NCA carries through its exercise as we have been made to understand, then that view will no longer hold,” he observed.
Meanwhile the National Communication Authority (NCA), which shut down the stations have explained in a statement that the action had to be carried out because the two media organizations failed to comply with a ruling of the Electronic Communications Tribunal (ECT).
Below is the full explanation of the NCA on the issue:
Radio stations operating without valid authorizations as determined by the 2017 FM Broadcasting Audit are being shut down with immediate effect as enforcement action in view of the decision of the Electronic Communications Tribunal.
Following the FM Spectrum Audit in 2017, some stations were found to be in default and were fined by the Authority. However, some of the stations in default were not satisfied and proceeded to the various courts; Electronic Communications Tribunal (ECT) and the High Court to appeal against the NCA’s decision.
This resulted in a decision by the ECT in 2018 which reviewed the status of expired FM Radio Broadcasting Authorizations and which ruled among others that Companies whose authorizations had expired reverted to the same position as a fresh applicant. While some stations shut down following this decision, others did not.
To this end, and 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 authorization from the Authority” the National Communications Authority (NCA) is enforcing the shutdown of FM radio stations who are operating without authorization.
It should be noted that, as ruled by the ECT, submission of renewal application after expiry of authorization is not a valid application and therefore shall not be considered by the Authority.
While companies affected by this shut down may submit fresh applications to the Authority if they so wish, these applications shall go through the required procedure for new FM Broadcasting Authorization and the outcome will be communicated to the applicants.
The general public is also informed that entities are only authorized to use frequencies for a specific duration or period. Frequencies are national assets and not the properties of users as they are not assigned to users in perpetuity.
The Authority takes this opportunity to encourage all license and authorization holders to ensure compliance with the various terms of their licenses and authorizations, and as well the relevant regulations.