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The National Communications Authority (NCA) has justified the closures of two pro-NDC FM stations, Radio Gold and Radio XYZ.
The two stations based in Accra, were shutdown yesterday.
They were the only stations in Accra that had their authorizations expired, according to the Director-General of the NCA, Joe Anokye.
He was briefing journalists at the Information Ministry.
Radio Gold and Radio XYZ were taken off air Thursday afternoon, May 9 2019, after personnel of the Ghana Police Service and the National Communications Authority (NCA) stormed their respective premises at Osu and Laterbiorkorshie, both suburbs of Accra.
Mr. Anokye says the closures were part of enforcing the rulings of the Electronic Communications Tribunal.
He says Radio Gold’s authorization expired since 2000.
For Radio XYZ, he stated that its authorization expired in 2016.
Erasing the notion that Radio Gold and Radio XYZ were closed down because of their affiliations to the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Director-General stated that there were other radio stations that would be closed down over the next one month.
He says the NCA would be visiting other regions from Friday, May 10.
Radio Gold was part of media houses that were fined in 2017 for operating with expired spectrums.
The station sued the NCA for the fine and the court ruled that once it was operating with an expired spectrum, its operations was illegal and so the fund should be returned to it.
“You cannot pay a debt because your license has expired,” Mr. Anokye said while making reference to the court’s ruling
Radio XYZ was also fined in 2017 for operating with expired spectrum.
Asked why NCA did not issued a prior notice to Radio Gold and Radio XYZ before the closures, he says prior notice were not issued when a station is already operating with expired spectrum.
It would be recalled that 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 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 Authorisations and which ruled among others that companies whose authorisations had expired reverted to the same position as a fresh applicant.
While some stations shutdown following this decision, others including Radio Gold and Radio XYZ did not.
As a result, the NCA says 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 authorisation from the Authority” it was enforcing the shutdown of FM radio stations who were operating without authorisation.
Mr. Anokye says the stations being shutdown have the opportunity to reapply for frequencies.
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