The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) says it will go back to court when the National Communications Authority (NCA) implements its pay-TV system.
This comes after the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision dismissed a case filed by the Association challenging the NCA’s Conditional Access system.
The panel presided over by Chief Justice Kwesi Anin Yeboah in its decision held that the case raises no cause of action. The panel noted that the NCA had intended the use of the system to take off in June 2020 but has since rescheduled it.
The court said the claims of GIBA were therefore an anticipatory breach since the policy had not taken off.
The panel further noted that GIBA had failed to demonstrate that any action by the NCA had breached any provision in the constitution including the ones relating to press freedom.
Speaking on JoyFM’s Top Story, President of GIBA Andrew Danso Anninkora said the Association is still in the process of understanding the court’s ruling.
“But as it stands now, what it means for us is that we have to wait for that action to take place and then we can come back to the court for the court to interpret where it infringes on the constitution or not.
“I think we have just been told to go back and wait for the next action and then we will be able to come back if we want to go back,” he said.
The mandatory Conditional Assessment system when enforced will block media content from Free-To-Air broadcasters unless criteria given by government are met.
GIBA had contended in its suit that its members have the absolute right and discretion over the decision to convert their press services programs into a Pay TV service.
The Association argued that neither the National Communications Authority (NCA) nor the oversight Ministry, has the right to decide on the shape and form that their contents should be offered to the general public.
GIBA stated that the choice of free and unhindered access to their content was made with approvals when they applied to the NCA for authorisation to use their regulated spectrum for the delivery of Free-to-Air media and press services programmes to the people.
They maintain this stance.
Mr Anninkora said the Conditional Access system has more disadvantages than advantages.
For the Association, the system amounts to censorship as it can be used for other things apart from the license regime the NCA claims.
“It will deny somebody access to information in order that you can take money from them,” he indicated.
If the NCA insists on making money from the system, the GIBA President said the Association has a draft proposal on how that can be done.
“We have made proposals to the Ministry of Communications as to how we can raise revenue through people viewing television content in the country.
“If they consider that, I believe strongly we will be moving forward smoothly and in unison as one people who believe in what our leaders do rather than question what they do and the motive behind it that is making them not listen to any other person except what they are bent on doing,” he said.