The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) has accused the Communication Ministry of doctoring standards document to sneak in conditional access for free-to-air television through the backdoor.

According to GIBA, the Ghana Standards Authority on December 18, 2019, had delivered a revised standard on Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) and Direct-To-Home (DTH) Receivers by the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), which they had welcomed.

The revised standard made the Conditional Access System (CAS) non-mandatory for Free-To-Air TV Receivers.

However, the document which was published on December 30, 2019, by the National Communications Authority (NCA) on their official website as a technical standard, according to GIBA, had been doctored by the MoC.

“The requirements include the acquisition of a special decoder with proprietary software before anyone could watch any Free-to-Air television programme in Ghana.”

“The special decoder shall be controlled by Conditional Access software and Middleware applications,” the statement read.

The statement says, the Ministry of Communication had ignored the valid concerns of industry players by imposing encryption on the industry which is against constitutional and statutory provisions guaranteeing media freedom and the right to information.

“Blocking access to public service free-to-air television networks such as TV3, TV Africa, Joy Prime, Adom TV, UTV, Crystal TV, etc. raises serious constitutional concerns, relating to freedom of the media and the right to information.”

Among other rising matters concerning the ‘doctored’ document, GIBA is calling on the general public and those in authority to question the actions of the Ministry of Communications.

“Let us defend our constitutional right to FTA media platforms in particular and safeguard our media space from sinister ownership and the negative machinations of the MoC.”

Read GIBA’s review here: