The Member of Parliament (MP) for Sagnarigu, Alhaji A.B.A. Fuseini has said the Minority are not against the National Communications Authority (NCA) enforcing the laws in sanctioning defaulting FM stations but are of the view that the Authority’s decision to sanction some radio stations poses a threat to freedom of expression in the country.

Some 131 FM stations were recently sanctioned by the NCA for violating aspects of the Electronic Communications Act and failing to pay their renewal and frequency authorisation fees.

The NCA is owed GHS1,223,790,000 by 76 commercial and community radio stations across the country. Some 34 FM stations have also had their authorisation revoked over various infractions while others have been fined.

But Mr Fuseini in an interview with Moro Awudu on Class91.3FM’s Executive Breakfast Show (EBS) on Wednesday, 4 October 2017 was of the opinion that the sanctions are “excessive” and wants the NCA to, as a matter of urgency, suspend the ongoing exercise and use dialogue and more flexible means to ensure compliance with relevant regulations.

According to him, revoking the authorisation of radio stations could pose a danger to Ghana’s democracy.

“One of the most [important] attributes of our democratic process is the right to freedom of expression” which in his estimation, “is at stake if you want to close down 131 radio stations. You can [imagine] what that means as far as freedom of the right to expression is concerned. We cannot monetise freedom of expression. It’s a key ingredient and if we have to err on the side of money or freedom of expression, we should err on the side of freedom of expression because it’s a value we cannot put money on”.

Mr Fuseini, who is also the Ranking Member of the Communications Committee of parliament quizzed: “This country is having all the peace, order and stability because citizens are able to talk freely, and, so, if you put impediments on the way of citizens to speak freely and to be able to proffer opinions about government, then what avenue are they left with?

“So that is what we are saying that as far as we are concerned, we should not allow monetary value to kill those democratic aspirations and that is why we are raising this matter not because we are against it. Indeed, as a minority, we are interested in helping the NCA carry out its legitimate functions and we have a duty to the NCA to help it succeed and that is exactly what we are doing in proffering these suggestions to the NCA. We want the NCA to succeed so that the right thing will be done in the supreme interest of this nation. So, we are by no means trying to run down the NCA,” he added.

Source: Ghana/

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