• In 2017 the NCA closed down some FM stations.
  • According to the NCA the radio stations were closed because of various infractions
  • The Communication Minister said they have closed 57 out of the 144 FM stations in Ghana.

The Minister of Communications, Ursula Owusu Ekuful has said that the National Communications Authority (NCA) has closed down 57 out of the 144 Frequency Modulations (FM) stations.

The 57 stations that were closed down were due to various infractions in an audit exercise by the NCA.

Speaking when she took her turn at the ‘Meet the Press’ series Mrs Owusu-Ekuful said: “in accordance with the decisions of the Electronic Communication Tribunal (ECT), 30 out of the 57 stations have submitted fresh applications for FM authorisations, out of which 15 have been processed.”

“The applications for the remaining 15 FM stations are still being processed and the outcomes will be communicated to them after they have gone through all the requisite processes, which include technical review, management review and board approval,” she added.

She also indicated that 27 out of the 57 stations that were closed down had not submitted fresh applications for new FM authorisations.

NCA closes down radio stations

The NCA embarked on an audit of all radio stations in the country in 2017. After this, the NCA imposed sanctions on FM stations that have been operating with expired authorisations.

Some people accused the NCA of deliberately closing radio stations affiliated to opposition political parties.

However, the minister at the press conference said those allegations are unfortunate and not worth believing.

Ursula-Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications
Ursula-Owusu-Ekuful, Minister of Communications

“It is factually incorrect and a blatant untruth to say, as some, including former President John Mahama and the Media Foundation for West Africa, who really ought to have known better, sought to portray, that only opposition radio stations have been targeted for closure, using the law.”

“No such intention actuated this exercise, and I am not sure we can claim that all the 144 stations in breach of the Electronic Communications Act were opposition radio stations. I know of XYZ and Radio Gold, and the latter had operated without renewing its authorisation for 16 years. The stations are certainly not untouchable or above the law, as some would have us believe,” she added.

Also, the radio stations that were dissatisfied with the NCA’s decision filed individual appeals at the ECT in November 2017. Meanwhile, other defaulters filed as a group, under the auspices of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA).

In June 2018, the ECT delivered a unanimous decision in the case of GIBA vs NCA Appeal No.: (ECT/APP/02/2017).

The tribunal removed the penalties imposed on the FM stations but said that a person with an expired FM radio authorisation must forfeit and re-apply, if he or she so wished.