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Where are the 138 stations who violated your laws? - Kwesi Pratt questions NCA

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Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr has questioned the National Communications Authority to explain why the 138 stations who violated their laws are still operational whilst Radio Gold and XYZ have been shut down.

According to him, it is surprising that these two stations were shut down over claims that they were at fault whilst they weren't the only ones violating the laws.

Seeking for answers and explanations from the NCA, Kwesi Pratt said "So where are the 138 radio stations which violated the same law, if there is a law on which the tribunal of the NCA ruled because if that is the case, we expect 138 to be reapplying for licenses. Maybe we will still find out the truth because I hear some of our Members of Parliament are treating to drag the NCA before parliament’’.

Speaking at a forum organised by Free Media Vanguard, Mr. Pratt said he will call for the revocation of the law that empowers the NCA to shut down electronic media stations.

This he said is because the NCA has no right to close down a radio station for the non-renewal of its licenses.

Campaigning against NCA's actions, Kwesi Pratt called on the various associations in the media fraternity to speak against the various attacks on journalists and closure of some radio stations in the country in order to ensure the restoration of 'so-called authorisation' of radio stations.

Also, to ensure that NCA's law is revoked and replaced with a more just law because "the NCA law itself is an affront to the provisions of the 1992 constitution".

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) also backed the calls of the Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper asking the NCA to publish the authorisation status of all radio stations in the country.



Background

A statement issued by the NCA on May 9, 2019, said the closures were carried out 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.”

The NCA referenced a 2018 ruling by the Electronic Communications Tribunal on the status of FM stations with expired authorisation saying companies whose authorisations had expired reverted to the same position as fresh applicants.

It added that the applications were to through the required procedure for new FM Broadcasting Authorisation.

The shut down of stations extended beyond just Radio Gold and Radio XYZ.

Back in September 2017, the NCA looked to sanitise the broadcasting sector shutting down 34 radio and television stations for various infractions.

The NCA also imposed fines ranging from GHc50,000 to GHC61,000,000.

The NCA in the 2017 audit fined Radio XYZ GHs 4,090,000 in September 2017 for operating with a license that expired on 8th May 2016.

In the report, Radio Gold was also fined GHs 61,330,000 for operating with a license that expired on 6th September 2000

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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