The National Communications Authority (NCA), has explained that, it has only been asked by the Electronic Communications Tribunal, to suspend the execution of sanctions it imposed on nine of the 131 stations, who are members of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA).
This according to the Authority, is to allow the tribunal to hear the substantive case brought by GIBA against them, in the interest of its members.
The Authority thus explained that, the sanctions against the over 100 other stations who are not part of the GIBA court action still holds.
The Tribunal ordered that, pending the final determination of the case that had been brought before it by the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), the NCA must not apply the penalties imposed on the nine defaulting stations.
The President of GIBA, Andrew Anninkora, who confirmed the court’s directive to Citi News, said the decision was taken after the Association filed an application at the Tribunal on November 3, 2017, seeking redress for its affected members.
The NCA, which had no representative in court during the ruling, in a statement copied to Citifmonline.com, clarified that the ruling affected only nine radio stations, and not all the 131 as reported in sections of the media.
“The stay of execution thus applies to the nine appellants whose authorizations would have been revoked after a deadline. The sanctions as imposed on the rest of the stations still hold until the NCA announces otherwise,” it clarified.
“The nine radio stations being represented by GIBA will have a stay of execution until the substantive case is heard,” it added.
Back in September, some 131 radio stations, including Accra-based Radio Gold, Atlantis Radio and Radio XYZ, 3-FM, were either fined or had their licenses revoked by the National Communications Authority (NCA), following the completion of a nationwide FM Spectrum Audit.
Radio XYZ was fined GHc 4,090,000, Atinka FM GHc 14,800,000, while Radio Gold and Atlantis Radio picked up the heftiest fines with GHc 61,330,000 and GHc 60, 350,000 respectively.
Accra-based Okay FM and Kumasi-based Hello FM, both under the Despite group, were shut down briefly as a result of the failure to pay their fines.
However, in an act of leniency, the Ministry of Communications and the National Communications Authority (NCA), slashed the fines for the sanctioned commercial FM Broadcasting stations by 50 percent.
The stations were also given additional 30 days to pay the slashed fines, which has since elapsed.
Below is the NCA’s statement
The Electronic Communications Tribunal has adjourned the case in which the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) had filed an appeal at the Tribunal seeking redress for nine of its members affected by the September 2017 sanctions.
The Electronic Communications (Rules of Procedure of the Electronic Communications Tribunal) Regulations 2016, LI 2235 states in Regulation 9 headed ‘Effect of an Appeal’ that:
(1) An appeal shall not operate as a stay of execution in respect of the decision or order appealed against except where the tribunal otherwise determines.
(2) Despite sub regulation (1), an appellant may reply to the Tribunal by motion on notice for a stay of execution of the decision or order that the appellant has appealed against.
(3) A decision or order that is the subject of an appeal shall be stayed when an application under sub regulation (2) is pending.
(4) The Authority shall stay the execution of a decision or an order where a. the Tribunal makes an order under sub regulation (2) to that effect; or b. an application under sub regulation (2) is pending.
It was based on this that the Tribunal adjourned the hearing at the request of the NCA. It is instructive to note that, the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) is a voluntary 2 the | Page association which is representing just 9 out of the 131 stations the NCA sanctioned in September.
The stay of execution thus applies to the nine appellants whose authorisations would have been revoked after a deadline. The sanctions as imposed on the rest of the stations still hold until the NCA announces otherwise.
The nine radio stations being represented by GIBA will have a stay of execution until the substantive case is heard. They are Mascott Multi-Service Limited (Atlantis Radio 87.9FM), Supermax Media Company (Max 102.9FM, Kalvice Company Limited (Kaleawo 107.3FM), Network Broadcasting Limited (Radio Gold 90.5FM), Progress Multimedia Limited (Radio Hogbe 106.5FM), Digital Broadcasting Systems Company Limited (Vision 90.9FM), Singwado Broadcasting Company (Radio Silver 92.3FM), Trickie FM Limited (Trickie 99.5FM) and Gary Express Service Limited (Beach 105.5FM).
The Authority wishes to inform the public that until the hearing is concluded, efforts will be made to ensure compliance from all Licencees and Authorisation Holders.