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Scrapping Obinim TV, Care TV, others off-air is a bold step

Scrapping Obinim TV, Care TV, others off-air is a bold stepThe Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) has commended the National Commission Authority (NCA) for taking nine TV channels off-air for breaching its regulations.

GIBA said it had earlier expressed concerns over the operations of some of these channels and was not surprised by the announcement. The affected channels included controversial Bishop Obinim’s OB TV, Kessben TV, Clive TV, ECN, Zoe TV, BTA, ATV, Care TV, and Elijah TV.

The NCA on Wednesday announced that it has taken nine stations including one that belonged to controversial preacher, Bishop Obinim off air for breaching the guidelines under Section 2(4) of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008, Act 775 and also using a third party satellite infrastructure provider to broadcast their programs via satellite.




BACKGROUND
NCA closes down Obinim’s TV station, 8 others

The National Communications Authority (NCA) has withdrawn the licences of nine television stations that failed to comply with the regulations of the authority.

They are Clive TV, OB TV otherwise known as Obinim TV, ECN, Zoe TV, BTA, ATV, Care TV, Kessben TV and Elijah TV.
A statement issued by the NCA announcing the decision noted the public interest that had been generated following its recent enforcement actions on some unauthorised television stations.

The authority received a number of questions regarding the withdrawal of the licences and why some television channels had been taken off the Multi TV broadcasting platform.

Regulations
It quoted Section 2(4) of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008, (Act 775), which stipulates that “… a person shall not operate a broadcasting system or provide a broadcasting service without a frequency authorisation by the Authority”.

In that respect, the statement explained that any person or entity seeking to operate a system for the provision of broadcasting services had to obtain an authorisation from the NCA.

It added that Multimedia Broadcasting Limited had an authorisation to provide Free to Air Satellite Television services, branded Multi TV, but the NCA observed that over a period of time a number of TV stations were operating over satellite in Ghana in the Ku Band frequency without authorisation from the authority.
“The NCA consequently directed that these stations be taken off the satellite,” the statement said.




Modus operandi
It stated that the stations used a third party satellite infrastructure provider to send their programmes onto a satellite, saying that the authority provided services to some authorised broadcasting stations, including Multimedia Broadcasting Limited, which were consequently directed to stick to the terms of their licence.
“It should be noted that NCA encourages infrastructure sharing, hence authorised or licensed entities are allowed to provide infrastructure services to authorised broadcasting entities who may want to share their infrastructure,” it indicated.

Explaining who the third party infrastructure provider is and the kind of services it provided, the statement named K-Net Limited, a company licensed to provide public internet data services using terrestrial networks and satellite as the third party provider.

Concerning when the NCA took notice of the airing of unauthorised television stations, the statement said from time to time, the authority conducted monitoring exercises and when any unauthorised services were detected, the appropriate enforcement measures were taken.
“In this recent case, the stations were detected sometime last year and notice was sent to the third party provider and the satellite company. A number of engagements went on, including the grant of a period of grace to ensure compliance,” it explained.

Procedures for broadcast
Touching on the procedures/processes before a television station could broadcast, the statement quoted Regulation 51 of the Electronic Communications Regulations, 2011, LI 1991, which states that the application for a broadcasting authorisation shall be in a form and contain information specified by the authority which requirements are published on the NCA website.

It advised advertisers and the general public to check with the authority for the list of authorised broadcasting stations before doing business with any station, adding that the lists were published quarterly on the website.
“We encourage all stakeholders to ensure compliance with the regulations covering the industry to ensure an orderly communications environment,” the statement concluded.

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