The Ministry of communications has directed FM Stations sanctioned by the National Communications Authority (NCA) to cease operations immediately.
The NCA last week sanctioned a total of 131 FM authorization holders found to have breached section 13 of the Electronic Communications act (2009), Act 775.
The move followed the completion of a nationwide FM Spectrum Audit conducted this year to determine compliance of Authorisation Holders with their Authorisation conditions and to determine which FM stations were in operations or otherwise.
Also, the FM Spectrum audit forms part of a wider and on-going audit of all services regulated by the Authority including TV and ISP services.
Section 13 of the Electronics Communications Act (2009), Act 775 states among others that “the Authority may suspend or revoke a license or a frequency authorisation where:
(a) The license or the authorisation holder has failed to comply materially with any of the provisions of this Act, Regulations or the terms and conditions of its license or frequency authorisation
(b) The licensee or the authorisation holder has failed to comply materially with a lawful direction of the Authority,
(c) The licensee or the authorisation holder is in default of payment of a fee or other money, charged or imposed in furtherance of this Act, the National Communications Authority Act, 2008 (Act 769) or Regulations
(d) The licensee ceases to (I) operate the public communications network, (ii) provide the public electronic communications service, or (iii) use the frequency band.”
The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) has described the move as harsh.
But addressing the media in parliament, Communications Minister Ursula Owusu defended the action of the NCA, warning that the Authority will physically shut down those stations if they fail to comply with the directive.
She rubbished the claim by the Minority in parliament that the action of the NCA will lead to the loss of about 5000 jobs saying that “cannot be an argument for continuing to operate illegally or in violation of the law.”
“If it were so, then I suggest we might have to legalise prostitution, robbery and all those actions which are in violations of our laws and shut the prison gates and allow everybody to do whatever they like,” she added.
“That is a recipe for being in a jungle. We will insist that the substantial portions of the sanctions that have already been imposed will be collected before we will even discuss the payment term. But for those whose authorizations have been revoked I suggest that they cease operating because as from today the NCA has been empowered to also go out there to physically close down those affected stations,” she said.