Unlike NPP, NDC applies rule of law in regulating institutions – Sam George

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Ningo Prampram lawmaker Samul Nartey George said his party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) respects the rule of law unlike the NPP.

To that end, he said, regulation of the stations will be in accordance with the laws under an NDC administration.

He was reacting to comments by a private legal practitioner and a member of the New Patriotic party (NPP), Mr Gary Nimako who has said that hence forth, there is going to be a strict regulation of radio stations in the country to ensure they operate within the law.

Mr Nimako indicated that the laws will be strictly applied against recalcitrant stations irrespective of which political parties they are aligned to.

Speaking on the Key Points on TV3/3FM, Saturday October 16, the newly-appointed board chair of the Gaming Commission told host Dzifa Bampoh that “From now on we are going to see the regulations being applied to the letter. That is on condition that all Ghanaians, whether NPP, or NDC or whatever political party that assumes the reigns of governance will take the view that we are going to apply the law irrespective of which stations , in our view is aligned to us or otherwise.

“Else, we are going to go back again. Assuming people pursue this as apolitical matter, then what will happen is that if in the unlikely event that NDC comes to power one day Nimako” they are also going to target their opponents’ radio stations.

Reacting to his submission on the same programme, Sam George said “One one thing I will like to say to Garry is that the NDC is a party that respects the rule of law unlike his party. You have not respected the law,” he said amidst laughter.

They were contributing to a discussion on the re-authorization of the shut down radio stations.

The Governing Board of the NCA has approved the grant of a total of One Hundred and Thirty Three (133) FM radio broadcasting authorisations which include new applications from entities whose FM radio stations were closed down after the 2017 FM Audit as well as existing stations which applied for renewal of their expired FM Radio broadcasting authorisations.

The approval was done at a Board meeting held on 11th October, 2021.

A statement issued by the NCA on Tuesday October 12 said this approval from the Board is subject to the applicants attending a sensitisation workshop on the terms and conditions of FM radio broadcasting authorisations.

“The workshop shall clarify the legal, regulatory, and technical requirements for the establishment and operation of an FM Radio Broadcasting station.

“Provisional authorisations shall be issued to the successful applicants at the end of the workshop and frequencies shall be assigned to the applicants only upon the fulfilment of the conditions of the Provisional Authorisation.

“The general public is reminded that per Section 2(4) of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008, Act 775, a person shall not operate a broadcasting system or provide a broadcasting service without a frequency authorisation by the Authority.

“Offenders are liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than three thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not more than five years or to both, as per Section 73 of Act 775 of 2008.”

The NCA shut down Radio Gold and Radio XYZ, and several others.

A statement issued by the NCA in Accra on May 9, 2019, said the closures were carried out in line with Regulations 65 (1) of the Electronic Communications Regulations, 2011, L. I. 1991, which states that “A person shall not use a radio frequency without authorisation from the Authority.”

Referring to a 2018 ruling by the Electronic Communications Tribunal on the status of FM stations with expired authorisation, the NCA said “Companies whose authorisations had expired reverted to the same position as a fresh applicant,” adding that “these applications shall go through the required procedure for new FM Broadcasting Authorisation.”

The regulator did not mention the two stations, implying that it was a general exercise.  However, only Radio XYZ and Radio Gold have been closed so far. Officials of the NCA, backed by armed police officers, stormed the premises of the radio stations to enforce the shutdown in the afternoon of May 9.

This is the second time in less than two years that the regulator has flexed its muscles against “defaulting stations.” In September, 2017, the NCA carried out a massive purge of the broadcasting industry that saw a total of 34 radio and television stations being shut down for various infractions, in enforcement of Section 13 of the Electronics Communications Act (2009), Act 775.

The regulator also imposed fines on a number of stations ranging from GHC50,000 (US$11,000) to GHC61,000,000 (US$13.8 million) depending on the infraction and the duration the infraction persisted.

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana