GBC hints at scrapping TV licence as it drops prosecutions

GBC hints at scrapping TV licence as it drops prosecutions
Source: Ghana|myjoyonline.com
Date: 10-01-2018 Time: 05:01:09:pm

Ghana Broadcasting Corporation says it will no longer haul defaulters in the payment of TV licence fees to its special court.

The Board of the corporation said in a statement it took the decision at an emergency meeting held January 10, 2018 following "apprehensions", "anxieties" and "outcry" from Ghanaians.

The statement signed by the Board Chair, Rev. Prof. Emmanuel Obeng, assured the public "not to entertain any fears" over prosecutions.

The new direction could render redundant, the Special courts created for the prosecution of defaulters.

The annual fee for the licence is 36 cedis for residential users.

The controversy over the collection of the licence played out extensively on social media as subscribers criticised the government, describing the licence fee as archaic.

Ridicule and anger characterized social media trolling of the state broadcaster's determination to collect the 36 cedis annual fee.

Ghanaians have questioned the quality of content and services offered by GTV to justify the collection of what they have described as 'easy money'.

Many say they want to see GTV compete for adverts and revenue as private broadcasters do in exchange for superior content.

TV License sample

Trolls suggested the state ought to expand its prisons because the prosecutions could see entire communities thrown in jail.

In a reaction from government, the Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, blamed the Director-General at the state broadcaster Dr. Kwame Akuffo Anoff-Ntow for the public furore that greeted an attempt to prosecute defaulters of the decades-old TV licence.

According to Mr Hamid, Dr. Kwame Akuffo Anoff-Ntow single-handedly took the decision to request the setting up of courts to prosecute persons who have not paid the annual tax.

At the board meeting that followed the reactions, the Board has also hinted in the statement, the government may scrap the over 52-year old law mandating GBC to collect the fees.

GBC said it wants to find a "more enduring funding module that would enable it discharge its constitutional mandate".

To this end, the state broadcaster would be engaging critical stakeholders over a new direction.

Former Director-General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), William Ampem Darko had said GBC risks collapse if license fees are not collected.

This is because the state broadcaster is in poor financial health and needs capital injection afforded by the licence fees.

Last year, its Kumasi regional office had its power cut over a 1.7million cedi debt to Electricity Company of Ghana.

GBC Licence fee

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