High Court set June 17 for judgement over NCA’s closure of radio stations

An Accra High Court will on June 17 deliver judgment in a case between Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and the National Communications Authority (NCA) over the closure of some radio stations.

On Wednesday, May 26, the Court presided over by Justice Gifty Agyei Addo, after its order for the parties to file their written submissions, said it has in its possession all the submissions from the parties and will have to prepare its judgement within two weeks.

Background

On July 22, 2020, Media Foundation for West Africa in July 22, 2020, through its Executive Director, Sulemana Braimah, requested for information from the NCA, in exercise of rights guaranteed under Article 21(1)(f) of Ghana’s 1992 Constitution and under Ghana’s Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989).

The MFWA requested for full list of all FM radio stations, indicating name of company, name of radio station, location, and frequency number that it had shut down following the Authority’s 2017 FM spectrum audit.

According to the NCA, the exercise was in respect of the 2018 decision of the Electronic Communications Tribunal.

The MFWA also requested for the full list of all authorised FM stations as of the second quarter of 2020, with indications of the dates of first authorisation, dates of last authorisation renewals, locations, and operational status of the radio stations that is whether they are on air or off-air.

MFWA sued the NCA on November 27, 2020 over the closure of some of the radio stations.

Reliefs

The applicant is seeking among other things “A declaration that the decision and demand by Respondent contained in its letters dated July 29, 2020 and August 20, 2020 complained about are unlawful, unreasonable, unfair, and in violation of Applicant’s constitutional and fundamental right to access information.”

The MFWA is also asking for “a declaration that the amount of GHC 2,000 demanded by Respondent from the Applicant in order to generate the information constitutes constructive denial, refusal, failure or neglect, and breach of Applicant’s right to information under Article 21(1) (f) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.”

It is asking for “a declaration that the amount demanded is not only unlawful but unconscionably exorbitant in breach of the letter and spirit of Act 989 and Applicant’s fundamental rights to information.”

The applicant is seeking “a declaration that the information requested by the Applicant is not subjected to a charge/fee; or in the alternative,

It is asking for “a declaration that if Applicant were liable to a charge/fee, same ought to be an ascertainable amount to cover the actual cost of reproduction or photocopy of the information sought only.”

The MFWA is also seeking an Order of the Court in enforcing its rights to information under Article 21(1) (f) of the Constitution by compelling Respondent to provide the information requested.

By Godfred Tanam|3news.com|Ghana