Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah has indicated that no media house in the country can be shut down over operating licensing issues.
According to him, the laws enshrined in the 1992 Constitution under Article 162 (3) do not stipulate owning a licence as one of the criteria needed for media organisations to operate.
The Minister for Communications and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful in a post on Facebook revealed that the police and NCA stormed the premises of two satellite television stations, namely, Thunder TV and Ice1 TV, who were illegally transmitting without licences, at Kasoa in the Central Region.
But in a Facebook post, the MFWA boss explained that Article 162, clause 3 of the constitution indicates that; “there shall be no impediments to the establishment of private press or media; and in particular, there shall be no law requiring any person to obtain a licence as a prerequisite to the establishment or operation of a newspaper, journal or the other media for mass communication or information.”
He pointed out that the only means the two TV stations in question could have been shut down was only if they had been transmitting and broadcasting without a broadcast frequency authorisation issued by the National Communications Authority (NCA) and not the absence of a license to operate.
Broadcasting without a broadcast frequency authorisation he says is “illegal” but not operating a media organisation without a licence.
“So it is wrong to suggest that media organisation, broadcast or otherwise, require licenses to operate. The TV stations that were shut down may have been transmitting or broadcasting without a Broadcast Frequency Authorisation issued by the National Communication Authority (NCA), which will then make the broadcasting activity of the TV stations illegal.
“The two are not the same. No media house requires a licence to operate in Ghana,” he stated.
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According to the Minister, Tuesday’s operation clamped down Nana Agradaa’s TV stations owing to the broadcast of “Sika Gari” – a show that discusses money doubling business through rituals.
The issue regarding the broadcasting of inappropriate content has been the talk of town following the murder of a 10-year-old boy in Kasoa by two teenagers for money rituals.
In view of this unfortunate development, the government is seeking to pass a broadcasting bill to check the contents aired by media organisations in Ghana.
Meanwhile, the National Film Authority has disclosed that businesses without a licence from the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Bank of Ghana (BoG) to operate in a money doubling business would have their advertisements pulled down.