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.
The Akufo-Addo government took obvious steps from 2017 to enforce the rules and regulations of the NCA. Radio Gold and Radio XYZ, two stations that are largely aligned to the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), were closed alongside many others that had refused for years to pay their operating licence fees and had flouted other obligations in line with their licences.
However, the opposition NDC and others saw the decision as discriminatory, questioning the governing party’s commitment to press freedom.
The NCA in 2017 insisted that freedom is best protected when rules of the game are respected by its key players. The authority defended the closures as “in line with Regulations 65(1) of the Electronic Communications Regulations, 2011, L. I. 1991, which states that “a person shall not use a radio frequency without authorization from the Authority”.
The National Communications Authority argued that it was simply enforcing its legitimate powers by shutting down FM radio stations which were operating without authorization.
According to the NCA press release dated the 12th of October 2021, the governing board approved the applications at its meeting held on the 11th 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 authorizations are among the licenses which have been granted.
“This approval from the Board is subject to the applicants attending a sensitization 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 authorizations shall be issued to the successful applicants at the end of the workshop and frequencies shall be assigned to the applicants only upon the fulfillment of the conditions of the Provisional Authorization,” the NCA release further noted.