The National Communications Authority (NCA) has threatened to close down defaulting radio stations following the expiration of the general amnesty granted defaulting FM stations on December 19, 2017 to regularise their authorisation conditions.
The authority had indicated previously that all defaulting commercial FM Stations, granted amnesty, were to rectify all outstanding issues by January 15, 2018, and pay a pecuniary penalty based on the number of days of violation but should not exceed one year in any case.
According to a statement issued by the Director of Corporate and Consumer Affairs at the NCA, Mrs Nana Defie Badu, while some radio stations took advantage of the general amnesty and had met their outstanding regulatory requirements, including the payment of outstanding fees and or penalties, others failed to do that, for which reason the authority had decided to shut them down.
It said substantial benefits from the audit and its aftermath, including increase in regulatory compliance, voluntary renewal applications, payment of outstanding regulatory fees, impact on other regulated services, clean-up of records and reinforcement of NCA’s regulatory role were some of the reasons given for the general amnesty.
“The NCA encourages all licence and authorisation holders to comply with the terms and conditions of their various licences and authorisations for a well-regulated communications industry which will serve and benefit all Ghanaians”, the statement added.
In September 2017, the NCA sanctioned 131 radio stations for violating certain aspects of the Electronics Communications Act (2009), Act 775. The stations included Radio Gold, Atlantis Radio, Radio XYZ, Atinka FM, and Vision 1 FM.
A further 13 FM authorisation holders have also been issued with reprieves pertaining to their authorisations.
Thirty-four radio stations had their authorisations revoked completely for failing to renew their licences after they expired over several years.
The sanctions follow the completion of a nationwide FM Spectrum Audit conducted to determine compliance of Authorisation Holders with their Authorisation conditions and to determine which FM stations were in operations or otherwise.
Of the notable stations, Radio XYZ was fined GH¢4,090,000, Atinka FM GH¢14,800,000, while Radio Gold and Atlantis Radio were required to pay GH¢61,330,000 and GH¢ 60,350,000, respectively.