Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has refused to give in to pressure by the Minority in Parliament over sanctions levelled against 131 radio stations.
She explained save some defaulting community radio stations that the Ministry will “deal a little leniently” with, the others will have their authorisations given to new applicants if the fines are not paid.
The Minister told Parliament Thursday, the National Communications Authority (NCA) deserves to be commended for having the “gut” to sanction media houses for breaching the law.
“We cannot continue to flout our laws [because] the evidence of our lawlessness is everywhere,” the Ablekuma East Member of Parliament (MP) said.
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About 131 FM Authorisation Holders were slapped with sanctions for violating various aspects of the Electronics Communications Act (2009), Act 775 last month.
The NCA also revoked the license of 21 others who were operating illegally because their authorisations had expired.
The Minority in Parliament has been displeased with the action, describing the sanction as “draconian.”
The opposition lawmakers said the exercise was an attempt to close down radio stations that are not aligned with the government, asking the NCA to reconsider its decision.
Related Article: Draconian NCA fines troubling – NDC Minority
But the Communications Minister has dismissed suggestions that the exercise was carried out to target opposition radio stations.
Ms Ekuful said actions based on “statutes” cannot be termed political persecution or threat to press freedom as the Minority claimed.
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“There is a clear need for proper regulation and management of this scarce finite resource and NCA [has been] ensuring an orderly broadcasting environment,” she said.
She threw a challenge to radio stations that believe they were unfairly dealt with to register their complaint with the NCA.
“I am inclined to deal a little leniently with the community radio stations but even they will pay a significant fine,” Ms Owusu-Ekuful said.
Story by Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | AKAP