The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has urged President Nana Akufo-Addo to pardon the radio stations that were closed down for breaching the National Communications Authority’s (NCA) regulations.
The NDC particularly criticised the closure of pro-opposition radio stations; Radio Gold and Radio XYZ in 2019 saying the state action was politically motivated.
Speaking at a meeting with leaders of the various political parties at the Jubilee House on Friday, the NDC National Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo said pardoning these radio stations could help with sensitisation efforts during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“In our effort to ensure that we reach out to the majority of our countrymen and women, I am appealing to His Excellency [Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo] to grant amnesty and get those radio stations that have been closed down to use their frequencies to reach out to the people and to reach out to them in various languages so that we will be able to reach out to every nook and cranny of this country,” Mr. Ampofo appealed.
The meeting also featured the Conventions People’s Party (CPP), the National Democratic Party (NDP), the People’s National Convention (PNC), the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), the New Patriotic Party (NPP) among others.
Ghana currently has 205 cases of the novel coronavirus across six regions.
The Greater Accra Region has most of the cases with 183 followed by the Northern Region with 10, the Ashanti Region with nine, the Upper West Region with one, Upper East Region with one and the Eastern Region one.
Why the closures
The NCA in May 2019 explained 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.”
Radio Gold, for example, had been accused of operating with a license that expired in the year 2000.
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 go 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 in an attempt 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 GHS4,090,000 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.