Radio stations operating without valid authorisation as determined by the 2017 FM Broadcasting Audit are to be shut down with immediate effect as enforcement action, in view of the decision of the Electronic Communications Tribunal.
A press release by the National Communication Authority (NCA) said, “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.
It said that resulted in a decision by the ECT in 2018, which reviewed the status of expired FM Radio Broadcasting Authorisations and ruled among others that Companies whose authorisations had expired reverted to the same position as a fresh applicant, adding that, whilst some stations shut down following that decision, others did not.
As a result 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 NCA is enforcing the shutdown of FM radio stations who are operating without authorization, it added.
“It should be noted that, as ruled by the ECT, submission of renewal application after expiry of authorisation 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 Authorisation and the outcome will be communicated to the applicants,” the release stated.
It advised the general public that entities were only authorised to use frequencies for a specific duration or period.
Frequencies were national assets and not the properties of users as they were not assigned to users in perpetuity, it stressed.
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