General News | Sep 30, 2017

NCA Revokes Moontie FM's Licence

A total of 131 FM stations which are said to have committed various infractions pertaining to their authorisation to operate as contained in Section 13 of the Electronics Communications Act 2009 (Act 775), have been sanctioned by the National Communications Authority (NCA).

Thirty-four of them, including Laterbiokoshie-based Montie Fm in Accra, which are said to be operating illegally following the expiration of their permits, have had their licences revoked.

Some of the radio stations, according to the NCA, have refused to renew their licences for close to 17 years.

This was contained in a press release issued by the NCA on September 28, 2017.

It explained, “This follows the completion of a nationwide FM Spectrum Audit conducted this year to determine compliance of Authorisation Holders with their Authorisation conditions and to determine which FM stations were in operation or otherwise.

“The FM Spectrum Audit also forms part of a wider and ongoing audit of all services regulated by the NCA, including TV and ISP services.”

Captured among the 131 sanctioned companies with their radio stations is Zee-Zee FM Radio Co. Ltd, owners of Montie 100.1 FM, which had three of its pro-National Democratic Congress (NDC) panellists jailed in the run-up to the 2016 elections for insulting judges of the Supreme Court.

They were, however, freed by former President John Dramani Mahama.

The List
Also on the list are Paradise Vision Estates Limited Accra, 101.7; University For Development Studies Navrongo Campus, 95.1; Foundation For Rural Education Empowerment and Development at Nandom, 92.3; Farich Company Limited, Salaga, East Gonja, 95.7; Acapella Media Company Limited (Filla FM) Tamale, 89.3; Northern Diamond Communications Limited, Bulpe 98.1; S&S Communications Limited Tamale 94.1; Skylark Radio and Television, Yagaba, 103.7.

Radio Labari Foundation, Chereponi, 95.1; Denkyembour Media Limited, Akwatia, 95.3 – owned by defeated MP for Akwatia, Mohammed Baba Jamal; Voice Sene, Kwame Danso, 104.7; Kantinka FM Limited, Agona Swedru, 97.7; Imperial Broadcasting Company Limited, Kumasi, 97.1; Price Media Company Limited (Price FM), Kumasi, 107.3; Yesterday's Pal Company Limited, Cape Coast, 102.9; Big Brother Motors (Jaydee FM), Ho, 99.9; Advocate For Gender and Development Initiative Ghana (Dayi FM), Anfoega, 89.7; Multi Systems Prestige Company Limited, Akatsi, 96.9; Beyond The Word Ministries (Beyond FM), Nkwanta, 90.7; Elite Multimedia Company Limited, Ho, 93.1; Scorpion Unit Security Limited (Star FM), Hohoe, 95.1; Dawurokese Media House, Kadjebi, 94.7; Gateway Communications Limited, Nkwanta, 92.1; 1962 Media Investment Limited, Essam, Bia District, 104.9 and Brosaman Radio Limited, Enchi, 99.1.

Also listed are Horizon Communication Company Limited, Tarkwa, 103.5; Jam Media Consult Limited, Tarkwa 93.7; West End Radio Limited, Essiema, 100.3; Help FM Ghana Limited, Sekondi/Takoradi, 103.9; Borderline FM, Half Assin, 99.5 and Georichcat Company Limited, among others.

Basis For Sanctions
Section 13 of the Electronics Communications Act 2009 (Act 775) states, among other things, that “the Authority may suspend or revoke a licence or a frequency authorisation where: (a) the licence or the authorisation holder has failed to comply materially with any of the provisions of this Act, Regulations or the terms and conditions of its licence or frequency authorisation; (b) the licensee or the authorisation holder has failed to comply materially with a lawful direction of the Authority, among others.

According to the statement, 21 FM broadcasting stations have had their authorisations revoked completely since their authorisations had expired over several years and were operating illegally.

According to the release, they had also failed to apply for renewal three months before expiry of existing Authorisation and as stipulated in their Authorisation, adding that “The FM broadcasting stations in question also did not respond to a notice the NCA sent to them to regularise their operations earlier this year.”

It further observed that 13 FM broadcasting stations would also see their authorizations revoked completely since they (authorizations) had expired, and as such they were operating illegally.

“They had also failed to apply for renewal three months before expiry of existing authorization and as stipulated in their authorization,” it noted.

NCA said it had subsequently slapped fines ranging from GH¢50,000.00 to GH¢61,000.00 on some of the 'recalcitrant' stations, depending on the infraction and the duration the infraction persisted.

“Eleven radio stations have been requested to pay application fees for renewal of Authorisation and to pay a fine in accordance with the NCA's gazetted Schedule of Penalties for failure to apply three months before expiry of Authorisation within 30 days,” it stressed, adding that “16 radio stations have been asked to submit renewal application, pay application fees and pay a fine in accordance with the Authority's gazetted Schedule of Penalties within 30 days.”

A further 24 radio stations have been asked to submit omitted documents and pay a fine in accordance with the Authority's gazetted Schedule of Penalties within 30 days.”

It disclosed that affected stations had also been given 30 days to settle their indebtedness or submit the relevant documentations as indicated in the letters sent to them by the NCA.

By Melvin Tarlue

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