The Minister-designate for the Ministry of Communications and Digitization, Hon. Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, has said that verbal attacks on the National Communications Authority (NCA) by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) for singling out Radio Gold and Radio XYZ for shut down were unwarranted.
The MFWA, she noted, got its facts wrong, stressing that Radio Gold and Radio XYZ were not the only radio stations that incurred the wrath of the NCA for failing to comply with regulations governing the allocation and utilization of frequencies in the country.
Following the shutdown of some radio stations in the country, the MFWA came hard at the NCA, singling out Radio Gold and Radio XYZ for being targeted in the exercise. They described the shutdown of the two radio stations as “opaque, arbitrary and capricious”.
“The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has closely followed the developments within the media landscape in Ghana over the last few weeks, particularly the shutting down of two pro-opposition radio stations, Radio Gold and Radio XYZ.
“While the MFWA will fully support any actions intended to enforce regulations governing allocation and utilization of frequencies in the country, the communication regulator, National Communication Authority (NCA)’s action in relation to the two radio stations and perhaps others, can best be described as opaque, arbitrary and capricious,” the MFWA said in a release.
They urged the NCA and other regulators not to abuse their power by engaging in acts that may suggest selectivity and discrimination in enforcing the laws.
However, appearing before the Appointments Committee of Parliament on Monday, February, 15, 2021, for public hearing on matters relating to the Ministry of Communications of which the NCA operates as an Agency, Hon. Owusu-Ekuful said 51 radio stations were shut down in the exercise carried out by the NCA.
“Ursula has not closed down any radio station. Radio Gold and Radio XYZ were not targeted as a special mention. 51 stations were shut down. Five community radio stations who also failed to submit a complete set of documents following the amnesty granted on 20th of October were also shut down. A total of 15 commercial FM stations were fined as a penalty for failure to commence operations within the stipulated period. Now, the tribunal in its ruling in the GBC and of GIBA and NCA case, further indicated that a renewal application submitted after the expiry of an authorization is not of valid authorization and the affected FM stations needed to apply for fresh authorization. Out of the 51 FM stations that were closed down, 41 have applied for new authorizations of which 28 have been processed and the remaining 13 are also being reviewed in the process. Where in all these does it state as the Media Foundation for West Africa has stated that Radio Gold and Radio XYZ were singled out for special treatment. They are causing problems and they should get their facts right”, she explained.