For the Sake of Freedom of Expression, NCA, Please Don’t Shut Down Radio Stations
The National Communications Authority’s (NCA) decision to close down so many (over 130) radio stations in Ghana is a very wrong move against freedom of expression that must be reversed immediately.
The individual’s right to freedom of expression duly guaranteed in chapter five, article 21 (1)a of the 1992 of Ghana is a crucial fundamental human right which must be protected at all cost. The constitution clearly states: “All persons shall have the right to- freedom of speech and expression, which shall include freedom of the press and other media” (Article: 21 (1)a)
It should be noted that these affected radio stations serve a large proportion of the Ghanaian population by providing them with relevant information on national issues and platform to voice out their opinion.
It is also worthy of note that, easy access to the media by the citizenry is extremely vital for national cohesion and development. So NCA’s decision can negatively affect the peace and development of the country.
Clearly, some of the fines imposed by the National Communications Authority (NCA) are so high and absolutely bizarre that they seem unfair to the ordinary mind.
For instance, we are told that Radio Gold has been fined GH C 61 million for failing to file certain documents at the National Communications Authority in time. And for Montie FM, we are told that the NCA refused to take the money for the renewal of their licence and went ahead to shut down the station because of just eleven days delay. This seems arbitrary and unfair.
I think that NCA’s decision is extremely high-handed, disproportionate and not good for the growth our democracy.
As the Holy Bible says “All things are lawful but not all things are profitable” (1Cor. 6:12). The NCA may have the power to impose these fines but the effect might become unprofitable for the whole nation in the long run.
MEDIA PLURALISM AND TOLERANCE
It must be noted that the varieties of media outlets we have in Ghana greatly contribute to the promotion of media pluralism which is necessary for airing and reflecting the different views and values of the larger Ghanaian society.
Such views, no matter how divergent do matter just as the views of those who support government. We therefore urge tolerance for divergent views so that we can sustain the peace and security we currently enjoy.
We call on the NCA to reverse its decision and allow all affected radio stations to operate again. We also call on all civil society groups, Ghana Journalist Association, Members of the Diplomatic core, Chiefs and all well-meaning Ghanaians to impress upon NCA to quickly RESCIND its decision for the peace of our dear nation.