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Radio XYZ says NCA erred in shutting it down and wants the breach rectified

BY: Graphic Online

The management of Radio XYZ has written to the National Communications Authority (NCA) asking for a second look at the shut down of the radio station.

According to the management of the radio station, the NCA's approach was problematic and was "an inadvertent legal and administrative procedural breaches in closing down the station."

The management is hoping that the NCA will rectify the breach to enable the station to continue to broadcast.

Below is a full copy of the statement

PRESS STATEMENT

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May 10, 2019

RE-CLOSURE OF RADIO XYZ 93.1FM BY NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS AUTHORITY

At about 2.30pm on Thursday, May 9th, 2019 while broadcasting a live, paid for press conference by the NDC on our network, armed security operatives and officials who identified themselves as coming from the National Communications Authority, (NCA) stormed the premises of XYZ Broadcasting Ltd with a letter ordering us to close down with immediate effect.

XYZ Broadcasting complied and shut down the station.

Following die closure, it is our understanding that die NCA and the Ministry of Information held a press conference last night on the matter.

We wish to provide die public the following facts.

1. XYZ Broadcasting since June 2017 has had not less than eight levels of correspondence with the NCA on the subject, 'expiry and renewal' of our license.

2. XYZ Broadcasting indeed acknowledges its failure to submit application for renewal to the NCA three months prior to the expiration of our license. The NCA however within the law had waived this breach committed by several radio stations (including Radio XYZ) across the country.

3. When the NCA drew our attention to the oversight in submitting our application for renewal, XYZ submitted the necessary documentations and a bankers draft for payment to the NCA on 28th July 2017. The NCA received our documentation for renewal and in a letter dated 26th September 2017, agreed to process our renewal application subject to the payment of a penalty of GHC4,090,000, which was subsequendy reduced to GHC2,045,000 following the reprieve granted to sanctioned FM stations by the Minister of Communications in a press release dated 20th October 2017.

4. The NCA had agreed subject to the payment of a penalty imposed, to process our renewal application in another letter dated 21st December 2017. However aggrieved by the unreasonable penalties imposed on radio stations, XYZ Broadcasting initiated a court process to have the illegal penalties quashed.

5. The Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) had also initiated proceedings at the Electronic Communications Tribunal(ECT), for the waiver of the penalties, in a ruling dated 18th June 2018 in the case GIBA vrs National Communications Authority, quashed the penalty imposed on sanctioned radio stations.

6. XYZ Broadcasting Ltd had submitted its application for renewal on 27th July 2017. Section 16 (5) and (6) of the Electronic Communications Act provides as follows:

16 (5) subject to sub section (3) (d), the authority shall give the licensee or the authorization holder advance notice of not less than thirty clays of its intention not to renew the license or authorization

16 (6) the authority shall state the grounds for its contemplated refusal of the renewal of a license or authorization and shall give the licensee or the authorization holder the opportunity

■ (a) To present its views, and (b) to submit to the authority within the time specified by the authority a written statement of objections to the refusal.

16 (7) die authority shall take into account the views and the written statement of the licensee or the authorization holder before reaching its final decision

7. Regulation 107 (3) of the Electronic Communications regulations, 2011 (LI1991) states as follows:

"107 (3) The authority shall communicate to the applicant its decision on the application for renewal within sixty days from the date of receipt of the application to renew and if it fails to do so, the license shall be deemed to be automatically renewed for the period requested in the application for renewal"

8. On 28th July 2017, the Authority acknowledged receipt of our renewal application for FM authorization. Subsequently, the authority pursuant to its regulatory powers granted an amnesty/reprieve for deflating FM stations which had failed to follow strictly the timelines for renewal of FM authorization subject to a condition for the payment of penalties which was declared by the ECT to be unlawful. As the Authority has failed or neglected since 18th June 2018 when the ECT made its decision or complied with section 16(5) and (6) of the Electronic Communications Act 2008, it has been and still the view of XYZ Broadcasting that the FM authorization has been automatically renewed and it is for that reason that XYZ Broadcasting continued to operate.

9. We find it unfortunate especially when Radio XYZ was broadcasting a paid live event of a press conference by the Council of Elders of the largest opposition party, NDC at its headquarters, for the NCA to have taken the action.

10. We have today, Friday May 10, 2019, written to the NCA on their inadvertent legal and administrative procedural breaches in closing down our station. The NCA erred yesterday with its action and we trust they will rectify the breach for us to continue broadcast.

Issued by Management of XYZ Broadcasting Limited
Signed: Bernie Anti, Chief Operating Officer