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13.05.2019 General News

Mahama, Kufour, Others Understands Media Freedom Better Than Akufo-Addo—Ablakwa

Hon Samuel Okudzeto AblakwaHon Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa

Hon Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, has commended former President John Agyekum Kufuor and his successors, late John Evans Atta Mill as well as immediate former President John Dramani Mahama for safeguarding the media freedom in the country for ages.

According to him, despite the reasons to sanction some media houses for breaching on the laws regulating their operation, the three former leaders by their wisdom and vision for the country growing democracy decided to overlook the legal breaches and allowed radio stations that licenses expired under their administration to operate.

Mr Ablakwa comments comes in a reaction to justification by the National Communications Authority (NCA) for shutting down two private radio stations affiliated to the opposition National Democratic Congress(NDC).

The two radio stations, Radio Gold and Radio XYZ, according to the NCA are part of a clampdown on radio stations operating without valid authorisations.

In the view of NCA, the shutdown of the pro-NDC radio stations was in line with the Authority mandate to enforce the Electronic Communications Tribunal which includes closing down radio stations operating within the country without valid licenses.

The NCA on Saturday May 11, released a press statement detailing the chronology of happenings between the Authority and the two radio station before they were shut down.

But the management of Radio Gold, contested the basis for which the station was shut down, describing it as "politically motivated."

The Station Management argued that they initiated a renewal process and have been engaging the NCA since 2017 to normalize their operation regarding their license.

Nevertheless, Mr Ablakwa said, even though Radio Gold's FM Frequency license expired in 2000, the station was not forced to shut down under former President Kufuor administration.

In a statement making rounds on social media, the North Tongu lawmaker expressed concern of the fact that, all Presidents from John Kufuor, John Mills and John Mahama, these radio station survived because they believed Ghana's democracy could not flourish without media freedom and commended the three former leaders for their insightful vision and wisdom.

"President Kufuor, as regards media freedoms, I salute you for using your authority to polish and not to bruise. May that shining example of tolerance and truly believe in press freedom inspire us to defeat the forces of tyranny, ironically, at a time your own party is at the helm of affairs," the NDC MP commended eulogises the former President.

He continued, "What the chronology further reveals is that the John Agyekum Kufuor-led Government had every legal basis to in a similar fashion carry out a Gestapo-style shut down of Radio Gold during the eight years the NPP was in power, and which period Radio Gold was still an ardent critic of his Government, however, President John Agyekum Kufuor's Administration just like its successor Prof. Mills and President Mahama Administrations, refused to do what President Akufo-Addo's Administration has done."

While expressing his solidarity with the radio stations, Mr Ablakwa added his voice to calls on the NCA to publish the list of radio stations in the country that are in good standing.

"I absolutely concur with the GJA, GIBA, the Minority Leader in Parliament and many others that the NCA must publish the full status of all radio stations in Ghana if we are to believe that it's recent actions against Radio Gold and Radio XYZ are not politically hatched," he stated.

The two radio stations are off air after the NCA actions and are now streaming online on both Facebook, Instagram and Tweeter.