Minister-designate for Communications and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu has told the Appointments Committee of Parliament that she never closed down any radio station in Ghana when she was the Minister.
She said this at her vetting on Monday February 15.
The Ablekuma West lawmaker said the closure of the stations was an action undertaken by the National Communications Authority (NCA).
“I have not closed down any radio station in Ghana,” she told the Committee.
The NCA in 2019 ordered the Network Broadcasting Company and XYZ Broadcasting Limited, operators of Radio Gold and Radio, respectively, to shut down for operating without authorization.
According to the NCA, the authorization of the two Accra-based pro-National Democratic Congress (NDC) radio stations to operate had long expired for which reason they must cease operating until they have renew their authorization.
In so directing, the NCA made reference to the decision by the Electronic Communication Tribunal in the case of Ghana Independence Broadcasting Association vrs National Communications Authority (Appeal No. ECT/APP/002/2017) and other laws to buttress its decision.
Apart from the two stations, other radio stations also suffered same ordeal.
Some political observers accused the government of targeting the stations in order to shut down the voice of their opponents.
Asked for her response to these concerns that the stations were targeted, the Ablekuma West Lawmaker told the committee that “Mr Chairman it is not possible for me to target any particular radio station for special treatment.
“I have no idea of what the political leanings of the owners of many of these stations apart s from the known ones. I believe even the chairman’s own station suffered from this exercise.
“It couldn’t have been selective or discriminatory. Unfortunately, in enforcing the law you have no way of knowing the chips will fall and so you work to ensure that you do it with a human face and I believe that was what the NCA was trying to do when it invoked the fines instead of closing down the stations outright .
“Many affected persons came to me and I directed them to go back to the NCA to see how they can come to the payment terms.”
She further said it wasn’t only Radio Gold and Radio XYZ that were closed. She told the Committee that “50 radio stations were closed down.”
Asked by North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa what occasioned the use of the military to supervise the closure of Radio Gold and Radio XYZ, she said she doesn’t determine how the NDC does its work.
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana