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Sanctions Minority kicks against closure of radio stations

Member of Parliament for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini, accused the NCA of seeking to suppress free speech.

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The Minority in Parliament has kicked against the National Communications Authority's regulation (NCA) of illegally closing down media houses that failed to renew their licenses.

Member of Parliament for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini, accused the NCA of seeking to suppress free speech.

READ MORE: NCA suspends issuance of new radio license

He said unlike other dictatorial jurisdictions where a clampdown on media freedom is more overt, the NPP government is using a more subtle approach to stifle such freedoms.

 

He also accused Communications Minister Ursula Owusu-Ekuful of political witch-hunting the radio stations.

The NCA closed down Accra-based Okay FM and Kumasi-based Hello FM, both under the Despite group, after their licenses were revoked.

The radio stations had defaulted in making payments for license fees and were said to have been operating illegally according to a statement from the NCA in September 2017.

The 30 day-window given to the stations to respond to the notice has elapsed.

34 of the sanctioned stations had their licenses revoked because their authorizations had expired, and were operating illegally, whilst the others picked up over GH¢1 billion in fines.

play Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful

 

READ ALSO: NCA shuts down Okay FM and Hello FM

Radio Gold and Atlantis Radio picked up the heftiest fines of GH¢61,330,000 and GH¢60,350,000 respectively.

Some analysts have been criticized the sanctions as being too harsh, with critics claiming that it amounted to an attempt to monetizing freedom of expression.

But the Minority has cited the potential job losses that would result from the possible shutdowns of sanctioned stations.

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