Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, has said, Ghana cannot mortgage its broadcasting unit to the Chinese.
He has also asked the Minister of Communications, Mrs Ursula Owusu-Erkuful to stop personalising the StarTimes deal.
In the view of the lawmaker, it would be dangerous for Ghana to mortgage its broadcasting unit to the Chinese.
Speaking to Rainbow Radio’s Parliamentary correspondent, Afia Kwarteng, the MP said, the Minority Members of Parliament were working to ensure that the Communications Committee of Parliament invites the Minister to brief Parliament on the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and the StarTimes 300 satellite TV project.
we are urging the communication committee to meet this time, this week and to try to ask for official documentation.”
“It doesn’t make sense to go back to StarTimes because of the credibility gap they have created. They made us miss the 2015 [DTT migration] deadline.”
“The extension of the job 600 is being done by the Chinese, the scanners you see, are from the Chinese, so the Chinese cannot… unless they are actively involved to say that, unless you give us this very project, then Ghana does not want us to be here, I don’t think that can be right. So I am encouraging government to point to them, 1001 projects, whether roads, whether construction of buildings, they are abundant to show to them our commitment.”
“But they have failed, that is why we won the case at the High Court, we won the case at the ICC, so we cannot mortgage our broadcasting unit to the Chinese, that will be too dangerous for us to do,” Muntaka said.
“In the interim, we are asking our members to go for the official documentation and based on that we will respond officially,” Alhaji Muntaka said.
The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) has kicked against a new agreement between the government and StarTimes dubbed Access to Satellite TV for 300 Villages in Ghana Project’. According to GIBA, the agree will be inconsistent with a roadmap for Ghana’s Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) migration. The projected if rolled out will benefit 6,000 households drawn from 300 villages nationwide. The project is aimed at helping “our citizens to access TV information on national and international events and programmes that would educate and inform them; hence increasing their awareness and knowledge to improve their welfare,” the Ministry of Communications has explained. But GIBA has in a statement said: “The Agenda of StarTimes is not only aimed at profit or the indoctrination of Chinese culture (names, language, food, etc.) and programmes, but a larger mandate to take over the control of the broadcast space in strategic African countries including Ghana, which is crucial for the China game. Whereas today, China does not allow foreign ownership of media and for that matter, will not allow the African broadcast media the space to trade our African channels in their country. Why then should African states give our broadcast space in the fashion as we are experiencing at the moment?”