The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), has commended the National Communication Authority (NCA) for taking nine TV channels off-air for breaching its regulations.
GIBA said it had earlier expressed concerns about the operations of some of the channels and was not surprised by the announcement.
The affected channels included controversial Bishop Obinim’s OB TV, Kessben TV, Clive TV, ECN, Zoe TV, BTA, ATV, Care TV, and Elijah TV.
Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show yesterday, Vice President of GIBA, Samuel Attah-Mensah said, “…the NCA in my estimation has taken a bold step” but added that “it doesn’t end there; we need to work on content.”
“As GIBA we’ve registered our concern about this situation in a letter that was written to the NCA few months ago. So we’ve been in discussions with the NCA, not to do what they have just done but to sanitize the digital TV space,” added Mr. Attah-Mensah.
He said, they were worried about the situation “because you wake up every day to a new channel broadcasting and we are at a loss as to who granted authorization and who is even managing the direction of this emergence.”
The NCA, on Wednesday announced that it has taken off nine stations, including one that belongs to the controversial preacher, Bishop Obinim, for breaching the guidelines under Section 2(4) of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008, Act 775 and also using a third party satellite infrastructure provider to broadcast their programs via satellite.
Meanwhile, some Ghanaians say the sector agencies, including GIBA and the National Media Commission (NMC), should also take action against media houses that broadcast inappropriate content.
Mr. Attah-Mensah, said both GIBA and the NMC, were worried about the matter, but are handicapped due to the lack of stringent regulations to streamline the activities of media houses in the country.
The NCA, has defended its decision to take some TV channels, including that of OB TV, off air.
According to the NCA, the stations breached the guidelines under Section 2(4) of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008, Act 775, and used a third party satellite infrastructure provider to broadcast their programmes via satellite.
In a statement, the NCA, said the nine stations affected were notified last year, and given a grace period to regularize their operations, but failed to do so.
“From time to time, the NCA conducts monitoring exercises and when any unauthorized services are detected, the appropriate enforcement measures are taken. In this recent case, the stations were detected sometime last year and notice was sent to the third party provider and the satellite company. A number of engagements went on, including the grant of a grace period to ensure compliance,” the statement added.
Below is the full statement:
The NCA has noted the public interest that has been generated following its recent enforcement actions on some unauthorised television stations. To clarify the issues, the following questions that the Authority has received has been answered below.
1. Why have some television channels been taken off the Multi TV broadcasting platform?
According to Section 2(4) of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008, Act 775, “… a person
shall not operate a broadcasting system or provide a broadcasting service without a frequency
authorisation by the Authority”.
Therefore, any person or entity seeking to operate a system for the provision of broadcasting services has to obtain an authorisation from the National Communications Authority. Multimedia Broadcasting Limited has an authorisation to provide Free to Air Satellite Television services, branded Multi TV.
However, the NCA observed that over a period of time a number of TV stations were operating over satellite in Ghana in the Ku Band frequency (12522MHz on the Astra 2F satellite) without authorisation from the Authority. The NCA consequently directed that these stations be taken off the satellite.
2. If it is illegal, how did the TV stations broadcast?
The stations used a third party satellite infrastructure provider to send their programmes onto a satellite.
This company provides services to some authorised broadcasting stations including Multimedia. They were consequently directed to stick to the terms of their licence. It should be noted that NCA encourages infrastructure sharing. Hence, authorised or licensed entities are allowed to provide infrastructure services to authorised broadcasting entities who may want to share their infrastructure.
3. Who is the third party infrastructure provider and what services do they provide?
The third party infrastructure provider in this case, is K-Net Ltd., a company licensed to provide public internet data services using terrestrial networks and satellite.
4. When did the NCA take notice of the airing of unauthorised television stations?
From time to time, the NCA conducts monitoring exercises and when any unauthorized services are detected, the appropriate enforcement measures are taken. In this recent case, the stations were detected sometime last year and notice was sent to the third party provider and the satellite company. A number of engagements went on, including the grant of a grace period
to ensure compliance.
5. How many channels have been affected?
As at 30th March 2016, the following 9 unauthorised channels have been affected:
• Clive TV,
• OB TV,
• Zoe TV,
• Care TV,
• Kessben TV,
• Elijah TV.
The Authority will continue its monitoring exercise and ensure compliance.
6. What are the procedures /processes before a TV station can broadcast on air? According to Regulation 51 of the Electronic Communications Regulations, 2011, LI1991, the application for a broadcasting authorisation shall be in a form and contain information specified by the Authority. The requirements are published on the NCA website
7. What is the advice for people and entities who may be affected by this?
NCA advises advertisers and the general public to check with the Authority for the list of Authorised broadcasting stations before doing business with any station. These lists are published quarterly on the website. We encourage all stakeholders to ensure compliance with the regulations covering the industry to ensure an orderly communications environment.
Issued by the National Communications Authority