The National Communications Authority has shut down Radio Gold 90.5 FM and Radio XYZ 93.1 FM both based in Accra on Thursday afternoon.
Officials of the NCA stormed the premises of the stations with armed security personnel while they were On-Air and ordered their immediate closure.
They were then handed letters detailing the reasoning behind the order as while as asking them to re-apply for license if they still wished to operate as Frequency Modulation (FM) radio stations, Myjoyonline gathered.
Both stations went off air circa midday as an enforcement action in view of the decision of the Electronic Communications Tribunal, the NCA has said.
A statement issued the NCA said the Authority is shutting down radio stations operating without valid authorisations.
Radio Gold and XYZ Radio are owned by persons affiliated to the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Below is the NCA statement
NCA IS SHUTTING DOWN UNAUTHORISED RADIO STATIONS IN COMPLIANCE WITH RULING OF ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS TRIBUNAL
Radio stations operating without valid authorisations as determined by the 2017 FM Broadcasting Audit are being shut down with immediate effect as an enforcement action in view of the decision of the Electronic Communications Tribunal.
Following the FM Spectrum Audit in 2017, some stations were found to be in default and were fined by the Authority. However, some of the stations in default were not satisfied and proceeded to the various courts; Electronic Communications Tribunal (ECT) and the High Court to appeal against the NCA’s decision.
This resulted in a decision by the ECT in 2018 which reviewed the status of expired FM Radio Broadcasting Authorisations and which ruled among others that Companies whose authorisations had expired reverted to the same position as a fresh applicant. While some stations shut down following this decision, others did not.
To this end, and 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 authorisation from the Authority” the National Communications Authority (NCA) is enforcing the shutdown of FM radio stations who are operating without authorisation.
It should be noted that, as ruled by the ECT, submission of renewal application after the expiry of authorisation is not a valid application and therefore shall not be considered by the Authority.
While companies affected by this shut down may submit fresh applications to the Authority if they so wish, these applications shall go through the required procedure for new FM Broadcasting Authorisation and the outcome will be communicated to the applicants.
The general public is also informed that entities are only authorised to use frequencies for a specific duration or period. Frequencies are national assets and not the properties of users as they are not assigned to users in perpetuity.
The Authority takes this opportunity to encourage all licence and authorisation holders to ensure compliance with the various terms of their licenses and authorisations, and as well as the relevant regulations.
Did NCA reject Radio XYZ payments?
Meanwhile, Managing Editor for Radio XYZ, Eric Ahianyo has narrated to JoyNews, how several requests they have made to have their operating license regualirsed by the NCA, have not received any response from the authority.
Neither an attempt to meet with the Director-General, Joe Anokye, yielded any fruitful results, he stated.
He explained, the station between July 2017 and December 2018, sent two bankers drafts through GT Bank with an amount of ₵11,165 on each occasion to the NCA requesting to renew their license per the orders of the ECT.
They then made several follow-ups at the authority but none of them received any favourable response only for them to receive a “Surprise letter telling us to ‘suspend our operations with immediate effect’.”
“We’ve immediately reported it to our directors and our lawyers for the necessary action to be taken,” Eric Ahianyo hinted of their next line of action and hoped the station will be back on-air sometime soon.