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CDG Blasts NCA Over Closure Of Radio Stations   
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Centre for Democratic Governance (CDG) has described as harsh, the on-going exercise by the National Communications Authority (NCA) under which selected media houses have been subjected to very steep regulatory sanctions and colossal fines.

According to CDG, the inflexible position adopted by NCA in asserting its mandate to withdraw the licences of some media houses was s a way of getting them out of the industry which has the potential of undermining Ghana’s democratic credentials and subsequently nullifying media freedom.

The CDG added that although the NCA was working within the remit of its mandate and as such cannot be faulted for performing its functions, it must take into consideration the implication of its decision, especially with regard to free speech and the impact on employment, one of the tenets on which the current national administration was given the nod to rule the country.

In a statement signed by Convener, Dr. E.K Hayford, the CDG expressed concern over the move by the NCA to sanction the 131 radio stations for various infractions contained in Sections 13 of the Electronic Communications Act 2009, describing as draconian and a calculated attempt to monetise free speech.

“Apart from the financial cost of the abrogated contracts, the NCA should tell the nation how radio stations should raise sums of money such as sixty one million Ghana cedis to pay the charges they owe; in this harsh economy being experienced in Ghana.”

“It is important to note that the actions of the NCA, if not corrected will have some ripple effects in the very near future of media broadcasting and freedom of speech in Ghana, etc. The dissemination of information including information on government policies by radio and television will be woefully inadequate,” the statement said.

According to Dr. Hayford, the NCA was largely at fault for reneging on its responsibilities for a number of years, decades leading to the current situation.

“If a media house does not honour its obligations for a year, it does not honour for the second year, what is the attitude of the one who has oversight responsibility for ensuring that these legal regimes are met…. Who is supposed to enforce those regulations? It is the NCA and if they do not enforce it and all of a sudden you are lumping all the years together to impose draconian fines in a very limited period of about 30 days or less,” he said.

He, therefore, called for a crucial dialogue between the NCA, the various managers of the radio stations, the National Media Commission (NMC) and other relevant stakeholders to find an amicable solution that would go a long way to enhance Ghana’s democratic credentials.

He explained that so far as the companies have accepted liability, they must be given an extended time to work on a payment plan, adding that: “Even the big telecommunication companies that make lots of money are given longer time period to pay when they have issues with the NCA.”
Source: today

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