The Member of Parliament for the Ningo-Prampram Constituency, has welcomed a decision by the National Communications Authority (NCA), to slash by 50 percent fines it imposed on some radio stations cited for non-renewal of their licenses.
He described the new move by the NCA as “refreshing.”
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) legislator had earlier accused the NCA of contravening certain constitutional provisions with the sanctions imposed on 131 radio stations.
According to him, the NCA did not follow certain provisions of Parliament before imposing the fines.
The NCA in September sanctioned 131 stations for several infractions, and at the time gave 34 radio stations the option to pay or be taken off air; a decision which was criticized by groups, particularly the NDC minority in Parliament.
Whiles the first 30-day ultimatum given to the stations has elapsed, and some stations have been taken off-air, the NCA in what appears to be an act of leniency, has lessened the fines and also relaxed other penalties.
The stations have now been given additional 30 days to pay up or risk being shutdown after the 50% slash.
This was after the Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, defended the sanctions, following her appearance in Parliament, where Sam George had vehemently objected her views.
Sam George in a statement said the review of the fines is a good step aimed at protecting free speech.
“It is refreshing to read the release from the Ministry of Communications on the fines by the NCA. I must commend the Ministry for its initial actions aimed at mitigating the enormity of the sanctions. They are the first good steps aimed at protecting free speech,” he said.
Below is the full statement from Sam George:
It is refreshing to read the release from the Ministry of Communications on the fines by the NCA. I must commend the Ministry for its initial actions aimed at mitigating the enormity of the sanctions. They are the first good steps aimed at protecting free speech.
However, I still believe that as the Ministry’s statement suggests, there is room for more dialogue and negotiations. One key issue would be the apparent retrospective nature of the fines. It is important as a cardinal rule of natural justice that penalties are not applied retrospectively. I believe that with the good faith shown by the Ministry, this issue too would be resolved amicably during discussions with the Ministry.
Let us continue to build a conducive environment for Ghanaian businesses to thrive even as the businesses respect their obligations to the State. It is my hope that the affected radio stations would take advantage of the current dispensation to engage the Ministry further to settle whatever outstanding issues may exist.
GOD bless our Homeland Ghana and make our Nation great and strong.
Samuel Nartey George(MP)
By: Godwin Akweiteh Allotey/citifmonline.com/Ghana