Mr. Joe Anokye , the Acting Director-General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), has stated that the communication regulatory body lacks technological systems that could be used to jam transmission of recalcitrant radio stations that flout its regulations.
According to him, the NCA has not got that powerful technology that could be used to block broadcasts of media houses that breach the frequency regulation, when it is detected.
“NCA doesn’t have the technology to take any radio station off-air. NCA doesn’t have the technology to interfere with the signal of any radio station. NCA doesn’t have the technology to jam any radio station,” Mr. Anokye revealed when he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in parliament yesterday.
The NCA and other agencies under the supervision of the Ministry of Communications were in parliament at the instance of the Public Accounts Committee to clarify managerial issues raised by the Auditor General’s Report for 2014/2015.
The Auditor’s General’s Report identified the challenges of the NCA as the non-renewal of licenses by some media houses and a number of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) non-compliance of the law to renew their licenses.
“It is a requirement of the authority for license issued to operators of TV Commercial FM Stations and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to be renewed prior to the expiry of such licenses
“These licenses are for five (5) years duration. 1641. Our follow up review of records on renewal of licenses issued by the authority as at year ended 2014,” the AG’s Report revealed.
This prompted a member of the committee, Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu, to ask the Acting Director-General if there was a way to block the defaulters from broadcasting.
In response, the NCA boss said that it was impossible for the authority to do that, as the NCA does not have the technology to interrupt on any form of broadcasting transmission.
He explained that, what the authority does is, “to deploy a task-force that will come in and confiscate your company’s equipment.”
Nevertheless, Mr. Anokye stated that, following such experience with defaulting clients, the NCA is deploying an application that will give it visibility of the companies in compliance and those defaulting.
He said, until then, all processes for acquiring licenses with the NCA have always been manual and expressed prior to this time.
Currently, he said, the country has 506 authorized radio stations with 382 in full operation and the rest still yet to be in operation.
Asked if the law prescribed as to the number of radio stations the nation could accept, Mr. Anokye said, the law is silent on the specific limit on the number of radio stations that should exist so far as there is availability of spectrum (frequency), which has a limit.
He further told the committee, the authority is devising some means and policies that could help improve frequency interference, stating that the NCA has not got a capacity system that would help block neighbouring countries picking signals from Ghana and vice-versa.
Mr. George Andah, Deputy Minister of Communications, who led the NCA and others to the PAC meeting, assured that government would work to improve the telecommunication system in the country.
According to him, the government remains committed to providing better and improved telecommunication through the Ghana Investment Fund of Election Communication (GIFEC) to extend telephony services to the rural communities, especially those along the borders, to reduce the problem of experiencing foreign calls, instead of local.
Source:therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba