Ghana: Broadcaster Association Demands Shift Of Spectrum Distribution Power
Following BMA yesterday reporting on the shutdown of 49 unlicenced tv stations, The Ghana Independent Broadcaster Association (GIBA) has called on the government to allocate the management powers of radio and television spectrum to The National Media Commission (NMC) as an alternative to the National Communications Authority (NCA).
GIBA believes that NMC will better manage and distribute the spectrum, ensuring proper monitoring of the airwaves. Alongside GIBA, Sulemana Braimah, the Executive Director of Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), has also taken the Communication and Digitalisation Ministry over the announcement of the shutdown of Ice TV and Thunder TV.
According to reports, the Communications Minister announced earlier this week that the Police and National Security Intelligence Operatives, in collaboration with NCA, visited two television stations, Ice TV and Thunder TV, for allegedly transmitting without licenses. The Minister then provided an update that the owner of Thunder TV was arrested, and the equipment used for the illegal transmissions were seized. According to the reports, the Thunder TV owner admitted to the illicit activity and is currently in custody assisting with the investigation.
However, Braimah challenged the Minister's call to shut down unlicensed TV stations, citing that the constitution does not allow shutting down stations based on licencing or lack thereof. Braimah referred to the 1992 Constitution under Article 162 (3), which reads, "There shall be no impediments to the establishment of private press or media; and in particular, there shall be no law requiring any person to obtain a license as a prerequisite to the establishment or operation of a newspaper, journal or other media for mass communication or information.". Sulemana further explained that stations do not require licenses to operate; however, they need Broadcast Frequency Authorisation from NCA.