NCA’s condition for restoring Radio Gold, others’ licences strange, says MFWA

The executive director of the Media Foundation for West Africa says the National Communications Authority (NCA) needs to be transparent with the process of granting frequency authorisation

Sulemana Braimah, the executive director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has said it is strange for the National Communications Authority (NCA) to attach conditions for granting frequency authorisation for Radio Gold and others.

Braimah said the NCA “has simply reversed what was a discriminatory, politically-motivated decision to shut down opposition-aligned radio stations while leaving pro-government stations with the same infraction on air.” 

“It was a case of rule of man rather than rule of law,” he added.

Speaking on Asaase Radio’s Big Bulletin, Braimah said, “I think it was a very discriminatory, politically motivated decision that was taken and now the same entity has decided to reverse its own decision. I don’t think there’s anything I should be elated about… there were over a hundred that were in the same situation based on the NCA’s own data and yet they were not shut down. 

“So one could only conclude that there was a rationale behind why some specifications were selected and shut down, so I don’t see anything to be happy about.”

Transparency is key

He added, “It is important that we operate in an environment of transparency. Nobody wants people to breach the law with impunity, if people flout the law, the sanctions must apply. 

“We need to be transparent with the process. We need to be nondiscriminatory in the processes… This whole new phenomenon of attaching a workshop as a condition for granting a frequency authorisation is quite strange…”

Braimah added, “I think that we are getting into a terrain that going forward a different group come and they introduce their own laws for regulating the frequencies and I don’t think that is what is needed in a democratic environment as far as media management and media regulation is concern.”

Licence approvals

The National Communications Authority (NCA), has confirmed that its newly inaugurated governing board under the chairmanship of Isaac Emmil Osei-Bonsu, has approved new radio licence applications by Radio Gold, Radio XYZ and over one hundred others.

In a statement dated 12 October 2021, the NCA said the governing board approved the applications at its meeting held 11 October 2021.

New applications from entities FM radio stations which were closed down after the 2017 FM Audit such as, Radio Gold and Radio XYZ, as well as existing stations which applied for renewal of their expired FM Radio broadcasting authorisations are among the licenses which have been granted.

“This approval from the Board is subject to the applicants attending a sensitisation workshop on the terms and conditions of FM radio broadcasting authorizations. The workshop shall clarify the legal, regulatory, and technical requirements for the establishment and operation of an FM Radio Broadcasting station,” the press release stated.

“Provisional authorisations shall be issued to the successful applicants at the end of the workshop and frequencies shall be assigned to the applicants only upon the fulfilment of the conditions of the Provisional Authorisation,” the NCA release further noted.

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