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Stop closing our Radio and TV stations, the table will turn one day – John Mahama warns Akufo-Addo

Stop closing our Radio and TV stations, the table will turn one day – John Mahama warns Akufo-Addo

Mr. John Dramani Mahama, Former President of the Republic of Ghana has openly told President Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo that he has set bad precedence following the closure of some radio stations that delayed in renewing their license.

According to John Mahama, “the 1992 constitution of the Republic of Ghana guarantees human rights, freedoms; such as freedom of association, freedom of religion as well as the independence of the media.

“Unfortunately, the NPP’s government under the leadership of Nana Akufo-Addo has made it possible to bend the constitution, hence to be able to achieve whatever ends they have in terms of limiting our democratic rights.

So today the government can say that a radio station has delayed in paying its license fee and so we are shutting you down.

He said this in the Upper East region on Tuesday, August 17 when he was thanking the chiefs and people of the region after the 2020 elections, even though he lost the contest.

“I am talking about it every day because of the precedence it can set. Because the shoe can be on the other foot the next day, and there’s a saying that “the stick that is used to beat Takyi, it is the same stick they will use to be Baah”. So what kind of country will we build, if another government comes to power and decides to close your stations as you are doing.

Mr. Mahama was making a reference to the closure of Accra-based stations, Radio Gold and Radio XYZ, aligned to the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) by National Communications Authority (NCA), the broadcasting and telecommunication frequency regulator in Ghana.

A statement issued by the NCA in Accra on May 9, 2019, said the closures were administered in line with Regulations 65 (1) of the Electronic Communications Regulations, 2011, L. I. 1991, which states that “A person shall not use a frequency without authorization from the Authority.”

Referring to a 2018 ruling by the Electronic Communications Tribunal on the status of FM stations with expired authorization, the NCA said “Companies whose authorizations had expired reverted to an equivalent position as a fresh applicant,” adding that “these applications shall undergo the specified procedure for brand spanking new FM Broadcasting Authorisation.”

The regulator didn’t mention the 2 stations, implying that it had been a general exercise. However, only Radio XYZ and Radio Gold are closed. Officials of the NCA, backed by armed cops, stormed the premises of the radio stations to enforce the shutdown.

This is the second time in but two years that the regulator has flexed its muscles against “defaulting stations.”

The NCA administered a huge purge of the broadcasting industry in September 2017 that saw a complete of 34 radio and Television stations being pack up for various violations, within the enforcement of Section 13 of the Electronics Communications Act (2009), Act 775.

The regulator also imposed fines on several stations starting from GHC50,000 (US$11,000) to GHC61,000,000 (US$13.8 million) counting on the violation and therefore the duration of the violation remained.

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