The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) has given indications that it is prepared to resort to the Supreme Court if the National Communications Authority (NCA) refuses to stop its new re-classification policy.
[contextly_sidebar id=”q7SWCufTWyUekSnr9faPGKu18A6FpMcL”]The policy is aimed at reducing the approved coverage area of radio stations operating in the country from 100 kilometre radius to 45 kilometre.
The NCA has explained that re-classification of the coverage will help curb the frequent interferences of some radio stations’ transmissions into others.
The Authority has thus suspended temporarily, the issuance of frequencies to prospective applicants.
The Vice President of GIBA, Samuel Attah-Mensah on Eyewitness News however said the new policy is unfair and will ultimately collapse the operations of radio stations.
He pointed out that members of GIBA would have had no qualms with the new policy if “at the time of being given the frequency, you let it known to me that I have only 45 kilometre radius upon which I will build my business so what it means is that we would have to let people go home because if I am going to reduce my coverage, it means I am going to reduce my market share, my revenue and the number of people I employ.” “We are prepared to go as far as the Supreme Court,” he said.
He disclosed that the NCA in 2012 proposed that it was going to undertake the reclassification exercise and subsequently opened discussions where they made certain proposal on the policy but according to him, the authority did not give GIBA any feedback and rather surprised them with a unilateral implementation.
“Then we get to 2015 and we are told that the policy has begun and they’ve started implementing the policy so when you go for renewal of your licence, you are given 45 kilometres of radius footprint to operate within,” he said.
GIBA’s Vice President revealed that both the executives of the Association and officials from GIBA have visited six regions so far and the reaction to the new policy is that of “shock.”
GIBA is thus calling on the President and the Communication Minister to intervene “because we think that it is unfair.”
He complained saying, “you present a business plan based on which you are issued a licence to operate and each license is given the radius within which it should operate so you build your business based on this mandate.
Now halfway through, you are told that they have decided and some of the reasons they have given for reducing our footprint – reasons like there is so much demand for frequencies – I mean, frequency is not a simple commodity.
There is so much demand for frequencies for telecom operations but do you just wake up and give people because they want to build mobile phone networks?” Mr. Attah-Mensah argued that the new policy does not make economic sense because “if you are listening to Peace FM for instance, the moment you get to Kasoa in the Central Region, the active signals of Peace FM will start vanishing; Joy FM, Citi FM, Adom FM.”
By: Efua Idan Osam/citifmonline.com/Ghana