Dr Charles Wereko Brobby has disclosed to Joy News that he has written to President Akufo-Addo as well as met him, over the shutting down of two pro-National Democratic Congress (NDC) radio stations.
He told Evans Mensah they discussed issues relating to Radio Gold and XYZ in addition to other issues he felt were ironical to be happenings under the President’s watch.
The former CEO of the Volta River Authority (VRA), is also the founder of the country’s first private radio station, Radio Eye, which was operating without a license in 1994.
Dr Brobby was arrested by the then Jerry John Rawlings government. Current President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was his attorney. The action earned Dr Brobby the nickname ‘Tarzan’.
The CEO of Ghana@50 secretariat in the interview, also spoke about how government can undo what he believes, is the damage the Akufo-Addo administration is doing to press freedom.
“Because I do not believe that government didn't authorise such an action, for the first time under his tenure, I sought an audience with him in May this year. I told him this is now an opportunity that the wrongs that you so fought against, must be corrected,” he revealed.
According to him, he suggested ways that President Akufo-Addo can proceed to effect a correction.
The shutdown of Radio Gold and XYZ was the latest move by the regulator, National Communication Authority (NCA) to clamp down on radio stations operating without valid authorisations, it said.
According to the Authority, it was an enforcement of the decision of the Electronic Communications Tribunal which includes closing down radio stations operating without valid authorisations.
However, the affected radio stations contested the basis for the shutdown.
The NCA’s action has widely been condemned by many including the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), which said such actions have the tendency to undermine media freedom in the country and have called for an immediate review of that decision.
Obviously unhappy with the action, Tarzan wrote to President Akufo-Addo suggesting ways to handle the issue before eventually meeting him one-on-one.
“My issues did not include the shutdown of the stations, but it was going back to the fight we started. I told him this is what we fought for and you are now in the position to do something about it. And I said if indeed the court process has been exhausted the constitution grants Parliament the permission to make laws, so an amendment can be made to the NCA rule,” he said.
The former United Ghana Movement (UGM) presidential candidate said, he suggested to President Akufo-Addo the setting up of a committee under the chairmanship of legal practitioner, Anthony Akoto Ampaw.
“He is probably the most knowledgeable about media law. Then bring in the NCA, National Media Commission and other technical people to make a recommendation to him on how we can deal with this unfortunate development and reinforce the media freedom we have established over the period.
According to him, it does not make any sense that NCA says it has the authority to allocate frequencies and an interested person needs to get authorisation from them before operating a radio station.
“Publicly I would have liked to see the President, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo [NCA Board Chair] and Kan Daapah [National Security Minister], make a pronouncement on this particular development,” he said.
Dr Brobby said their loud silence is tantamount to negligence in their sworn commitment to media freedom.
Tarzan said the recent happening evokes the sad memories of the era of ‘culture of silence’. He is prepared with the help of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) and GJA to fight the issue in the Supreme Court.
Watch the interview below.
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