The Supreme Court is set to adjudicate on government’s plan to introduce conditional access to digital terrestrial television.
The court will on June 23, decide on the constitutionality of the move after the Ghana Independent Broadcaster’s Association (GIBA) challenged same.
The suit, filed in January 2020 raises questions of unnecessary restraint on the establishment and operation of private media in the country.
The move, spearheaded by the Communications Ministry, through the National Communications Authority (NCA), would require television viewers to acquire a decoder before access free-to-air TV.
The fee payable for the decoder would be the equivalent of television license.
But GIBA, seeing the move as an affront to media freedom, has asked the apex court to disallow the government’s move.
They have asked the court for the following reliefs.
-A declaration that the new requirement by the NCA as a violation of Article 162(3) which stipulates no impediments for establishment of private media.
-A declaration that the conditional access system introduced by the NCA is an “unreasonable and unnecessary abridgement of the freedom of the media” and, therefore, unconstitutional.
-A declaration that the action of the NCA is an infringement of the right to information as guaranteed under Article 21(f) of the 1992 Constitution.
-An order “directed at the NCA to remove any system in the nature of conditional access that encrypts or blocks the content of free-to-air television channels from being received.”