Lawyer Chris Ackumey, a longstanding legal practitioner with the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), has dragged the National Communications Authority (NCA) to court over the NPP government’s attempt to shut down 131 radio stations.
In a writ filed yesterday, Mr. Ackumey asked for a perpetual injunction on the moves by the NCA to clamp down on the affected stations.
The injunction, he requested, is to preamble total nullification of the fines and penalties imposed on the stations positing that they are illegal.
“A declaration that to the extent that the penalties/fines imposed by Defendant on FM stations had had not been approved by the Parliament of Ghana pursuant to the provisions of the Electronic Communications Act 2006 as amended and/or the National Communications Authority Act 2008, the imposition of the fines/penalties is unlawful, null, void and of no effect,” Mr. Ackumey’s statement of claim said.
He also asked the court to uphold that even if the penalties that the NCA has imposed are legal, they cannot be upheld in the current context of application because such an application would be retrospective.
The NCA recently announced that it was imposing penalties on 131 radio stations with hefty fines that have seen quotations, including Ghc61million, slapped on some of the stations, notably Accra-based Radio Gold.
Through the same sanctioning, Montie FM, which, like Radio Gold, is perceived to be very critical of the NPP government, has been shut down.
However, it has since emerged that the fines that the NCA is imposing were reviewed by the Authority in 2015 without Parliamentary approval.
Apparently, it is on the basis of the lack of Parliamentary approval that Lawyer Chris Ackumey has dragged the NCA to court.
In the 31st October writ issued at the Accra High Court, Mr. Ackumey posited that the draconian measures that the NCA has undertaken against the radio stations affected are groundless, because they did not comply with Section 13 (3) of the Electronic Communications Act 2008 (Act 775).
He also posited that the NCA’s request for affected radio stations to petition it for redress amounts to interference in the operations of the stations, and that the revocation of the stations’ licenses is unreasonable and does not comply with Article 23 of the constitution.