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Actor Kweku Elliott Wades Into Startimes Controversy   
 
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28-Sep-2018  
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Ghanaian actor, Kweku Elliott has added his voice to the current brouhaha between the Ministry of Communication and Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) over claims that government is handing the management of Ghana’s Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) infrastructure to a foreign company, StarTimes.

According to Elliott, the move will defeat the purpose of the “promote Ghana Goods” slogan.

He also thinks the move will be to the disadvantage of local broadcasters and it will also affect actors who depend on the local television industry to survive.

“This, to me, sparks trouble because as an actor, it affects my work, and not just to actors, but to indigenous Ghanaian outfits who are stakeholders in our media space and are already managing our media space for us,” Elliott said in an open letter to Ghanaians on Facebook.

Currently, there have been a lot of debates at various levels over the issue.

GIBA, which fronts for private broadcasters in Ghana, has been rallying the nation to oppose what it believes is a crafty attempt by the government to hand over Ghana’s DTT infrastructure to a third party, StarTimes, to manage.

Meanwhile earlier reports claimed StarTimes has already clinched a deal ‘Access to Satellite TV for 300 Villages in Ghana Project’ from the government to provide various contents via satellite to some 6,000 households drawn from 300 villages nationwide. But GIBA is fighting that deal.

It says that the deal is inconsistent with a roadmap for Ghana’s Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) migration and tax waivers granted StarTimes as part of the deal are unfair to local competitors in the broadcast space. It said further that the agenda of StarTimes is not only aimed at the indoctrination of Chinese culture (names, language, food, etc.) but the taking over of the broadcasting space in Africa.

But Communications Minister, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, downplayed that by vowing to also protect the interests of any Ghanaian business.

Kweku Elliott is one of the Ghanaians who think there is a need to relook at the deal, advocating for a local company to take charge.

His comments came not long after movie makers blamed the local TV industry for ‘killing’ the movie industry due to its foreign content.

Below is his full letter to Ghanaians:

OPEN LETTER TO ALL GHANAIANS

“There is this brouhaha brewing between GIBA (Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association) and the Ministry of Communication, which has to do with the Digital Migration project.

In a nutshell, the Communications ministry is said to have decided to award or have awarded a contract to a Chinese firm known as Startimes to take over or manage our media space. This, to me, sparks trouble because as an Actor, it affects my work, and not just to actors, but to indigenous Ghanaian outfits who are stakeholders in our media space and are already managing our media space for us.

Also, I got to learn recently that the digital migration program was awarded to KNET, a private indigenous company owned by a Ghanaian and to my knowledge, the job has been executed to the max with just a few hitches like power which has to be provided by the Government of Ghana.

So what then, is Startime’s business to do with all of these? And why is the communication ministry hell bent on involving the said firm to, as they put it, “EXPAND THE PROJECT”?

Are they are saying, KNET, a professional company that delivers top notch services to its customers, is not capable of doing the so called expansion job? Or is it pure vindictiveness or politics being played here?

This obviously has nothing to do with KNET but merely a tussle between GIBA and the Communications ministry of Ghana. Therefore, if any outfit running on the platform of KNET has issues, then it’s advised that they check their many technical inabilities that cannot be dealt with by anybody but themselves. I totally agree with all that GIBA is worried about in the sense that if this deal is allowed to the STARTIMES who hailed from China to manage our media space, our content will also be influenced. Our local content will be at great risk and will clearly be blown out of the way. Indigenous private media houses who have for so many years worked and delivered in our media space will also see their lifelong span being cut short. Then what will the 300 village project be broadcasting on their platforms? Chinese documentary, news and movies?

 
 
Source: Daily Guide
 
 

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