The Communications Minister has slammed Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) for what she calls attempts to hijack and dictate the pace of the country's digital migration agenda.
Speaking on the matter for the first time on Joy FM/MultiTV’s news analysis show Newsfile, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said GIBA's concerns are simply misplaced.
“They are not financing this process and they cannot sit there and dictate what government does in this process,” she told host Samson Lardy Anyenini, Saturday.
The Communications Ministry has over the past week been fighting off claims from the Association that it is deviating from its digital migration blueprint by signing an agreement with StarTimes.
The independent broadcasters in a lengthy press release asserted that the deal government is entering into with the Chinese TV operator amounts to ceding the country’s broadcasting space.
“If StarTimes is allowed to control both Ghana’s only digital television infrastructure and the satellite space in the name of digital migration, Ghana would have virtually submitted its broadcast space to Chinese control and content,” GIBA said in the release.
However, the minister rubbished GIBA’s arguments saying she is at a loss what the Association is demanding.
“Is it a question of not getting timely responses to correspondence that has been sent to the ministry? Or is it as has been put out in that extensive alarmist publication by GIBA that the Communications Ministry is handing over the country’s Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) infrastructure to StarTimes to manage?” Mr Ekuful queried.
She was emphatic the Association has come short of explaining its claims in the publication.
“I am still struggling to find out exactly what GIBA’s concerns are so we can address it,” she said.
But the Association’s President Andrew Danso-Aninkora disagrees with the Minister.
He blames the current disagreement on the failure of the Minister to respond to their earlier queries demanding answers.
According to him, there was an agreed roadmap which was not adhered to and they "kept writing letter upon letters to the ministry without any response. The last response we got just acknowledged receipt."
The GIBA president said one phrase that the Association consistently rang through all discussions with government was "'we are going to' but we never arrived anywhere.
"We see, we hear and we ask questions which we don't get answers to. We see the direction you [government] are going and we know the confusion that you are going to bring in," he said.
Watch the discussion: