The Minister-designate for Communications Ursula Owusu-Erkuful has rubbished assertions that the shutdown of radio stations in 2019 was politically motivated.
According to her, she had no idea of the political affiliation of the stations affected in the shutdown.
Contrary to the claims made, she said the affected stations breached the law for their operations hence their shutdown.
The National Communications Authority (NCA) in 2019 explained it shut down Radio Gold and Radio XYZ because they failed to comply with the ruling of the Electronic Communications Tribunal (ECT).
It said Radio stations operating without valid authorisations as determined by the 2017 FM Broadcasting Audit were shut down as enforcement action in view of the decision of the Electronic Communications Tribunal.
Following the FM Spectrum Audit in 2017, some stations were found to be in default and were fined by the Authority.
However, some of the stations in default were not satisfied and proceeded to the various courts; Electronic Communications Tribunal (ECT) and the High Court to appeal against the NCA’s decision.
This resulted in a decision by the ECT in 2018 which reviewed the status of expired FM Radio Broadcasting Authorisations and which ruled among others that Companies whose authorisations had expired reverted to the same position as a fresh applicant. While some stations shut down following this decision, others did not.
To this end, and in line with Regulations 65 (1) of the Electronic Communications Regulations, 2011, L. I. 1991, which states that “A person shall not use a radio frequency without authorisation from the Authority” the National Communications Authority (NCA) enforced the shutdown of FM radio stations who are operating without authorisation.
Appearing before the Vetting Committee on Monday, February 15, 2021, the nominee disputed the assertions of political interference saying: “I had no idea of the political affiliations or ownership of many of these stations. I believe the chairman’s station also suffered from the exercise. It couldn’t have been selective, discriminative or unfair treatment. Unfortunately, in enforcing the law, one has no way of knowing where the chips will fall.
Nobody could have touched any media house if they hadn’t acted in contravention of the law.”