Ghanaian film makers are catered for in the TV Licence Law whose implementation has started in earnest.
According to the law, 2% of the revenue accrued from the collection of the fees will go into a ‘Films Fund’ to help develop the film industry.
The Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) takes 72%, Ghana Independent Broadcasting Association (GIBA) – 15%, National Media Commission (NMC) – 4%, Media Development Fund, 4% and the Management of TV Licence Fee (GBC) gets 3% of the revenue.
The TV Licence Fees established by the Television Licensing Act – 1966 (NLCD 89) were re-introduced in 2015 to charge fees from individuals and groups that own television sets.
The law states that “except as otherwise prescribed, a person shall not install or use a television receiving set unless there is in existence in relation to that set a valid television receiving set licence granted by the licensing authority under this Act.”
The licence fee has been put into three categories. The first category is the domestic use which charges GH¢36 per television set and GH¢60 for two or more TV sets in the same house.
TV set repairers and outlets shall pay GH¢60, while TV dealers pay GH¢120.
The re-introduction of the law has been greeted with divergent opinions. While some people agree it is a good law to help improve the work of the State Broadcaster, others have asserted that it is an outmoded law that needs to be scrapped.
Entertainment analyst and leading team member of Uncle Ebo Whyte’s Roverman Productions, Kwaku Osei Korankye Asiedu, has suggested that a ‘Content Law’ be passed in place of the TV Licence Law, to make sure content by creative artistes are also covered.
“I don’t think this TV Licence fee is going to work. Apart from the fact that its collection will be difficult, it leaves creative artistes at a disadvantaged end because we create the content that the television stations use,” he said.
“I rather wish that a Content Law is passed so that charges are put on every electronic gadget that uses creative content,” Kwaku added.
Most people in the creative arts sector believe that the 2% Films Fund is not enough for the entertainment sector and that it must also cover audio content.
In the meantime, Chief Justice, Gloria Akuffo has established 11 special TV Licence Courts across the regions to try defaulters of the licence fees.
The courts, which will sit in the 10 regional capitals plus Tema on Thursday’s, will be presided over by 11 designated circuit court judges.
The time for the Court sitting is 8:30 am to 4:00 pm.