The newly inaugurated governing board of the National Communications Authority (NCA), under the chairmanship of Isaac Emmil Osei-Bonsu, has approved new radio licence applications by Radio Gold, Radio XYZ and over a 100 others.
This was disclosed to Asaase Radio by multiple sources at the NCA and confirmed by a senior source at the Ministry of Communications and Digitisation.
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 decision was seen by the NDC opposition party and others as discriminatory, questioning the ruling 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.
Asaase News sources at the NCA have confirmed that the governing board approved the applications at its meeting held on 11 October 2021.
One key source familiar with the development at the NCA says new applications from entities whose FM radio stations 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.
“But, the Board is determined to ensure that the rules and regulations of NCA are not disregarded with impunity as was the case in the past.”
None of the sources could, however, confirm if any of the stations that are to reopen will have the privilege of being granted their previous frequencies.
“These are entirely new applications and frequencies will be given depending on which ones are available,” a source at the NCA technical department stressed.
The governing board of the National Communications Authority (NCA), chaired by the managing Isaac Emmil Osei Bonsu, senior partner of Minkah-Premo & Co, assumed office on 4 October 2021. Minister responsible for Communications and Digitalization, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, swore them into office at the NCA.
Members of the governing board are Isaac Emmil Osei Bonsu, board chairman, Mr Joe Anokye, the Director General of the NCA, Mr. Kwabena Adu Boahene, Mr. Alexander Nii Katey, Honorable Ama Pomaa Boateng, Patrick Boateng, Dr. Eugene Owusu, and Madam Ama Daaku. The ninth member of the board is yet to be named.