WE’LL ENFORCE MEDIA LAW OR DIE TRYING - URSULA DEFIES NDC PRESSURE

We’ll enforce media law or die trying - Ursula defies NDC pressure

Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | Austin Brakopowers | Austin.powers@myjoyonline.com | Instagram: @Realbrakopowers
Date: 19th-october-2017 Time:  6:13:44 pm

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Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful has refused to give in to pressure from the Minority in Parliament over sanctions levelled against some 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 West Member of Parliament (MP) said.

Related Article: NCA sanctions over 100 FM stations; revokes licences of 21 stations

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 said to be operating "illegally" because they refused to renew their authorisations after they expired.

The Minority in Parliament has been dissatisfied with the action, describing the sanctions as “draconian.”

The opposition lawmakers said the exercise was a "deliberate attempt" to shut down radio stations that are not aligned with the government, asking the NCA to rescind 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.

Although a founding director of Accra-based Radio Atlantis, the Minister told her colleagues the station was part of the 131 others sanctioned by the NCA.

Related Article: Even if I sell my children, I can't pay NCA's ¢1.5m fine – Oxzy FM owner

“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 file their complaints 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.

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