- Pratt dares Tech Activists to shun NCA’s band and put stations back on air
- NCA lacks good judgement – Kpebu
- Media shuts won’t win us power- NPP MP
- Umaru Sanda wonders why Govt forgot to enforce laws against Aisha Huang
- But NCA insists the stations were operating illegally
The Government through the National Communications Authority (NCA) on Thursday folded two private radio stations, Radio Gold transmitting on 90.5 FM located at Laterbiokorshie area of Accra and Radio XYZ broadcasting on 93.1 FM around Ajiringanor also in Accra, both believed to belong to Chieftains of opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), over alleged non-compliance of authorization laws in the country.
This shut down comes a day after mixed communication from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) over claimed intimidation from Police Service to gag their National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo ahead of controversial probe by the Criminal Investigations Department.
It is reported that a team of armed policemen drawn from the Anti- Terrorism Unit of the Ghana Police Service, besieged the one-storey building to deliver the notice of closure. The enforcement staff of NCA and the security operatives entered the building and ordered the station to shut its transmitter while handing them the closure notice.
In less than two years this is the second incident that the regulator has acted against the stations. In September 2017.
But Managers of Radio Gold and Radio XYZ says they are not disconcerted by the action taken against them by the Communications Authority.
“This action is not going to stop us, it is not going to tame us, it is not going to force us to change our programming or what we do.” James Agyenim Boateng said addressing supporters of free press who had crammed at the forecourt of Radio Gold to protest over a strange act of political pantomime by the Communications Regulator.
“We will continue to do programmes that will put government on its toes. We will be untamed, we will be unbowed, and we will continue to be radio gold.” He assured.
Calling on technically competent society to restore the status of the affected Radio Stations, the Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr says it’s a display of ignorant and maybe buffoonery for those who shuts radio stations. For him, one does not need NCA’s spectrum to be able to do mass communication.
‘In this era of technological advancement, one thus not need that spectrum (NCA’s spectrum) to broadcast’. He opined.
‘I want to urge all technically competent people who stands for press freedom, to start from now to think about how to put all the stations taken off air back on air’, the all-time campaigner for press freedom said.
Challenging the management of the two affected Radio Stations, Mr. Pratt said, Radio Gold and Radio XYZ must start broadcasting using tools available to them. To him, the affected stations must start broadcasting immediately via facebook, youtube and any other means possible without the NCA’s spectrum and cautioned them against defeatist tendencies.
According to Kwesi Pratt, the gathering was meant to reflect and to make sure the forces of reaction who wants to trample on press freedom are defeated and humiliated, because no force on earth can destroy free speech in Ghana.
Relying on history to buttress his argument, Pratt said, ‘all those who attempted it before saw how they ended. And those who want to try it today, will end up in the dustbin of history’.
Rejecting the action by NCA, Lawyer Martin Kpebu holds a firm view that the National Communications Authority, is without decent judgement in its decision to shut the two frequencies.
Stating his views on what he termed draconian action by the regulator, Martin Kpebu said it is not every law you will have to enforce to the latter especially when it does not conform with natural laws.
He argued that, ” some of them (laws) you have to exercise tact, good judgement but I find that lacking in this particular case (NCA shutdowns)”.
Berating the Communications Regulator, Kpebu further stated that the NCA does not understand its own laws.
“The NCA even didn’t understand the law, when they went to court they lost.” He teased
On his part, Executive Director of the IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe believes the closure of the two radio stations, Radio Gold and Radio XYZ, was not thoroughly thought through by the National Communications Authority (NCA).
Labelling the action as political, Mr. Cudjoe said the shuts was only a ploy to hurt the opposition party’s main communication tool.
“This is politics- look at the biggest opposition party’s main communication tool and then you actually say you are shutting it down. I would have thought that the sensible thing to do was to say I am blacklisting you…and if you do not pay I am suing you… but the very childish act of shutting down a station is in itself crude especially when it is not even a new station….What you are actually doing is treating them like a criminal entity.” The Imani Boss said on Citi FM.
A Legislator of the governing party, Dr. Okoe Boye said the media shuts won’t win the party power, instead their campaign promises.
He made the claim when he took his turn to discuss the subject of media shuts on Peace FM on Friday, attracting a thunderous applause from his co-panelists.
But the National Communications Authority insists the closure of the ‘anti-government’ radio stations was meant to enforce the ruling of the Telecommunications Tribunal Court, which proceedings ended in June 2018, confirming that the authorisation of some spectrum holders had expired.
Speaking in a media briefing on Thursday, the NCA Director General, said Radio Gold and Radio XYZ were the only FM stations that had become illegal in the Greater Accra Region.
Reacting and dousing the claims that government is trying to gag the media with such actions, Information Minister Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah says the shutting down of the two radio stations has nothing to do with press freedom.
According to the Information Minister, the stations were taken off air because they were among stations found to be in default of spectrum authorization.
Even with the explanations put forward by the NCA and the government spokesman, Dr. Ekow Spio- Garbrah has joined the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) to press the National Communications Authority to publish the authorization status of all radio stations in the country.
‘Publish the names of all Radio Stations in good standing latest by Tuesday’. He requested.
‘It is unfortunate that the party that has made the most noise about press freedom is rather the one busily strangulating it’.
He said the arbitrary shutdowns is unacceptable and that the time has come for Ghanaians to rise and demonstrate against the political highhandedness.
How many Hotels, Hospitals, Restaurants were shut because of expiration of their operating authorizations, he quizzed?
But Umaru Sanda Amadu, a Journalist plying his trade with Citi FM, is asking how justified government of Ghana is in suspending law on Aisha Huang, a Chinese galamsey queen and enforcing law on Ghanaians owned radio stations?
Below is the full text of the Citi Eyewitness Anchor
Ever heard of Aisha Huang? How many laws did she break again? And where is she now? The government forgot to ENFORCE the law in her case, right? It’s ok to suspend the enforcement of the law on Huang but be forceful on the radio stations, right?
We are told by the NCA that Radio Gold has been operating without authorization for close to two decades now (meaning from early 2000). And we haven’t arrested any NCA official for letting the company operate “illegally” for all these years?
Don’t even give me that crap about they are being shielded by the NDC government because NPP has been in office longer than the NDC in the past two decades.
Look, I’m all for institutions to work and the right thing be done and all that, but if you’ve lived long enough in this country, you’d smell politics in an action when there is one, unless you have no nose. By all means, crack the whip, but let it crack on all.
You may be a government appointee or a party foot soldier so you may see nothing wrong with what happened. My source of income is the microphone so when one is shut down, not because it broadcast evil, but because of the excuse of license and authorization, I worry for mine because I know governments aren’t permanent and they may target mine soon. I don’t want it to be said, that “when they came for my brothers, I said nothing so the day they came for mine, I had no one to say anything for me”.
I repeat, “All things are lawful, but not all things are edifying”.
Goodnight folks and thanks for stopping by my wall.