Last Thursday, officials from the National Communication Authority (NCA) stormed the premises of Accra-based Radio XYZ with armed security personnel and ordered its immediate closure.
The shutdown is the latest move by the regulator to clamp down on radio stations operating without valid authorisations.
The action, according to the Authority, was an enforcement of the decision of the Electronic Communications Tribunal which includes closing down radio stations operating without valid authorisations.
But the management of Radio Gold has contested the basis for the shutdown. They said they have been engaging NCA to correct the situation regarding their license.
The NCA in a press release Saturday outlined the chronology of happenings between it and the pro-opposition station leading to the shutdown.
Below is the chronology of what happened.
May, 9, 2011
XYZ BROADCASTING LIMITED, Radio XYZ (The Company) was granted Authorisation to operate a commercial FM Station in Accra on the frequency of 93.1MHz.
May 8, 2016
The Company’s Authorisation EXPIRED but the Company did not submit a renewal application prior to its expiry.
June 21, 2017
The NCA issued a Notice of Suspension to the company for its failure to submit a complete set of documents to renew its Authorisation prior to its expiry. The company was informed that their station will be closed down after 30 days.
July 5, 2017
The company submitted a letter applying for renewal of Authorisation with NCA Form AP04 attached.
July 31, 2017
The Company submitted a complete renewal application but did not pay application fee of ¢3,850.00.
September 26, 2017
The company was fined ¢4,090,000.00 as a penalty for failure to submit a complete renewal application for a total of 409 days for the period May 8, 2016, to June 21, 2017.
October 23, 2017
The NCA wrote to company granting a 50% reprieve on the fine as approved by Minister of Communications. The Company was requested to pay fine of ¢2,045,000.00 within 30 days, failing which station will be closed down.
November 21, 2017
The Company filed a lawsuit against the Authority’s imposition of fine at the Electronic Communications Tribunal (ECT) in Suit No. GJ 1701/17 (XYZ Company Ltd v National Communications Authority).
December 11, 2017
The NCA acknowledged the letter from the company’s lawyers informing them their submissions are being reviewed.
December 21, 2017
The NCA wrote to company granting amnesty on the sanctions imposed on them. The company was requested to pay a reduced fine of ¢3,650,000.00 for an infraction period of 365 days and a daily fine of ¢10,000.00 based on the company’s classification as an Urban Type 1 station.
January 8, 2018
The Company responded to the Authority’s grant of Amnesty indicating that they are deferring comment of the issues since they had filed a lawsuit against the Authority’s decisions in Suit No. GJ 1701/17 (XYZ Company Ltd v National Communications Authority) at the ECT.
June 18, 2018
The Electronic Communications Tribunal (ECT) gave its ruling in the case of GIBA (suing for and on behalf of Radio XYZ and 8 others). The ECT quashed the penalties imposed on the company, however, the ECT stated that a former holder of a Frequency Authorisation reverts to the same position as a fresh applicant when the Authorisation expires and as such Radio XYZ does not have a valid Authorisation to operate an FM Radio station.
July 18, 2018
The Company filed a Notice of Discontinuance notifying the ECT and The NCA that it had discontinued the suit against the NCA.
May 8, 2019
The NCA issued a letter to the company directing them to cease operations since they did not have a valid Authorisation.
May 9, 2019
The company was closed down for operating without a valid Authorisation.