Former President John Mahama has lambasted government over the closure of some radio stations in the country.
According to him, government is setting a bad precedent with such action.
“There has occurred under this government a situation where the law is deliberately used to shut down dissenting stations and it is unfortunate. If you look at the pattern of the stations that have been closed, using the law, they are all pro-NDC stations and I think it is a bad precedent. I pray it doesn’t happen in future when the shoe is reversed and some other government comes and shuts down stations that are pro-opposition. The law is just being used because the stations have appealed to the Electronic Tribunal but somehow they have managed to get the judge to resign and government has refused to appoint a new judge to adjudicate the case deliberately just so they could keep the stations closed and it is totally unacceptable,” he fumed.
Mr. Mahama made the remarks when leadership of the Ghana Journalists Association called on him to invite him to the 70th Anniversary celebrations of the Association.
The National Communications Authority closed down a number of stations including Radio Gold and Radio XYZ about five months ago with the claim that the stations were operating without appropriate authorization.
Efforts by the affected media houses to get their licenses and authorization regularized have yielded no positive results.
Speaking to officials of the GJA, Mr.Mahama described the action taken against the radio stations as an abuse of power and a deliberate attempt to keep the radio stations shut.
He also cautioned the National Communications Authority to be minded by the emerging new media and its impact on their work.
“…I want to caution the NCA [that], the way they are going and the way technology is going, a time will come when you don’t need the NCA because you don’t need a frequency and they are going to force stations to bypass the NCA”.
Closure of pro-NDC stations
Two pro-opposition radio stations, Radio XYZ and Radio Gold were closed down by officials of the National Communications Authority (NCA) in May this year.
At the time of the shutdown, Radio XYZ was transmitting the opposition NDC’s press conference addressed by the Council of Elders at the party headquarters in Accra.
The National Communications Authority also took the same action against three other stations.
Some party activists at the time said the action by the NCA was politically motivated but the NCA said the shutdown was because the private broadcasters had failed to renew their operating licenses after their expiration.