The Ministry of Communications has in consultation with the National Communications Authority, offered conditional reprieves for radio stations sanctioned recently for various regulatory infractions.
A statement issued by the Information Ministry Friday said the intervention followed a presentation of the Communications Minister to Parliament and that they have been issued in the hope that “all defaulting FM stations will take advantage of this opportunity and ensure compliance within the shortest possible time.”
The reprieves cover three categories of defaulting FM radio stations thus;
Community and Institutional FM Broadcasting Stations
- The pecuniary penalties which were imposed on the FM Broadcasting Stations in this category have been waived.
- In addition to this, these stations are to regularise their operations; pay their outstanding indebtedness (Annual Regulatory and Spectrum fees) and submit renewal applications and all outstanding documentation as applicable within thirty (30) days from the date of this release, Friday, 20th October, 2017. Failure to do so will result in the revocation of their authorisations.
FM Broadcasting Stations which had their Authorisations Revoked
- The stations in this category have the option to petition the Honourable Minister for Communications for a review of the revocation of their Authorisation within 10 days from Friday, 20th October 2017. After receipt of their petitions, they will be reviewed on a case by case basis, following which the Minister will determine the applicable sanctions.
Commercial FM Broadcasting Stations
- Defaulting Commercial FM Broadcasting Stations that were fined by the NCA have also had their fines reduced by 50%. They have 30 days from 20th October, 2017 to pay the 50% reduced penalties or have their authorisations revoked.
As many as 131 radio stations were affected in a late September clamp down on FM stations violating provisions of the Electronics Communications Act (2009), Act 775. Some of them had their annual renewal fees outstanding for well over a decade.