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NMC regulates content of airwaves

BY: graphic.com.gh

The National Media Commission (NMC) has enacted a piece of legislation (LI 2224) to regulate the airwaves. We publise the first part of the LI below

In exercise of the power conferred  on the National Media  Commission by section 24 (1) (b) of the  National Media  Commission Act,  1993 (Act 449), these Regulations  are made this 16th day of October,  2015.

Preliminary Provisions

Purpose of Regulations                                               

1.  The  purpose of these  Regulations is to establish and  maintain standards in the content of public electronic communications network, public electronic  communications service and  broadcasting services.

Application of Regulations

2.  These  Regulations  apply to

(a) an operator;

(b) an agent  of an operator;  and            

(c)  a producer of content  for a public electronic commumcations network, a public communications service or a broad­ casting service.

 Content Authorisation

Requirement for content authorisation

3.  (1)  An operator  shall not convey or permit  to be carried on  a  public  electronic communications network ,  a public  electronic communications service  or a broadcasting service  without obtaining a content  authorisation from the Commission.

(2)  An operator  who contravenes subregulation (1) commits  an of­fence and is liable on summary  conviction  to a fine of not less than five thousand  penalty units and not more than fifty thousand penalty units or to a term of imprisonment of not less than two years and not more than five years or to both the fine and  term of imprisonment.

 Qualification for grant of content authorisation

4.  An operator is not qualified to apply for content authorisation  un-less that operator  is a citizen of Ghana,  and is

(a) a registered  body corporate;

( b) a  registered  professional  body or association; or

(c) a registered  partnership.

 Application for content authorisation

5.  (1)  An operator  who intends to carry content on a public electronic communications network,  a public electronic  communications  service or a broadcasting service shall apply  in writing  to the Commission  for content  authorisation.

(2)  The  application shall  be as set out  in Form One of the First Schedule.

(3)  The application shall be submitted  with

(a) certified details of the registered capital of public electronic communications network,   public  communications service or broadcasting service;

(b)  the editorial  policy of the public electronic communications network ,  public electronic communications service  or broadcasting service;

(c)  the fee as prescribed by the Commission;

(d) a programme guide  as set out  in Form  Two of the First Schedule, in respect of broadcasts;

(e)  a content  profile in respect  of other  forms  of public  electronic  communication networks  or public electronic com­munications  services as set out in Form Three of the First Schedule;  and

(f)  any other  information  that the Commission may request.

(4)  Where the application is made  by a registered  body corporate or  registered partnership  the  application shall, in  addition to  the information required under  subregulation (3),  be accompanied by a reference  that  provides  information on the experience of the operator; and

(a) in the case of a body corporate,

(i)   the certificate  of incorporation, and

(ii)    a  statutory declaration of  the  structure of  the shareholding of the body corporate; or

(b)   in the case of a partnership,  a statutory declaration of the partnership agreement.

(5) Application  for content  authorisation  shall be supported  with documents establishing the identity of the operator.

(6) On receipt of an application,  the Commission  shall determine whether the programme guide submitted by the applicant  conforms  to these regulations and any other relevant enactment.

(7) Where the commission considers that the programme guide is unsatisfactory, the Commission shall notify the applicant in writing and shall state in the notice, to what extent,  the programme  guide must be revised to meet the requirements of the commission.

(8)  The applicant shall revise the programme guide and submit the revised programme guide within the period stated, if any, in the notice referred to in subregulation (7).

(9) An approved programme guide is valid for twelve months.

(10) A programme guide shall be renewed not less than forty-five days before its expiry and subregulations (4), (5), (6) and (7) shall apply.

(11) An operator may revise a programme guide subject to the written approval of  the commission .

 Procedure  for  grant of content authorisation

6.  (1)  The  commission  shall,  within  fourteen  days of receipt of a

completed application for content authorisation,  acknowledge receipt of

the application.

(2) The commission  shall

(a) verify and validate the information received, and determine

whether the applicant has met the requirements stipulated in regulation 5 within ninety days of receipt of the aplica­tion,  and

(b) notify the applicant  in writing of its decision to grant or refuse  the  application within  five  working  days  of its determination .

(3) Where the commission refuses to grant an application, the commiss ion shall state the reasons for the refusal.

Grant, vailidity and duration of Content Authorisation

7 (1) A content authorisation granted by the Commission shall be as

set out in the Second Schedule and is subject to the terms and conditions specified in the content authorisation.

(2)  A content authorisation is valid from the date it is granted for a period of three years.

(3) The commission  may extend the period for the validity of  content  authorisation .

 Transferability of content  authorisation

8. (1)  An operator who has been granted a content authorisation shall not transfer the content authorisation to another person without the prior written approval  of the Commission.

(2) An operator who contravenes subregulation (1) commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not less than five thousand  penalty units and not more than fifty thousand  penalty units and in addition  to the fine, the commission shall revoke the content authorisation  granted  to the operator.

 Renewal of content  authorisation

9. (1)   An operator who wishes to renew a content authorisation shall submit an application  for renewal as set out in Form One of the First

Schedule not less than three months before the expiry date of the content authorisation .

(2) An application for renewal shall be supported by

(a)  the documents and information referred to in regulation 5;

(b)  the prescribed fee; and

(c)  any other information  or  documents  that the Commission may request.

(3) The Commission shall

(a) acknowledge  receipt of the application  for renewal within five working days of receipt of the application,  and

(b)  notify the applicant  of its decision  to grant or refuse  the application within sixty days of receipt of the application.

(4) In reaching a decision  on an application for renewal,  the Commission shall take into account the findings of its monitoring  and investigative activities on whether and to what extent the operator

(a)  has complied  with the terms and  conditions  of a content authorisation;

(b)  has met its obligations under these Regulations and Standard Guidelines issued by the Commission;  and

(c)  has generally remained  in compliance with any enactment relating to electronic communications .

(5) Where  the Commission  makes a decision  to renew a content authorisation, the Commission  may issue the authorisation

(a)  on such terms and conditions that the Commission considers necessary, or

(b)  for a lesser period.

(6) The Commission  shall give reasons in writing to an applicant for a refusal to renew a content authorisation.