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Have 50 Pro-Opposition Radio Stations Been Shut Down?

Photo Credit: r5fm.wz5q.net 2 mins read

CLAIM: The president has closed 50 radio stations which are not aligned to his party, Twitter user claims.

INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE: As of May this year, 44 radio stations had been shut down. This is according to information available on the website of the National Communication Authority (NCA) and in the media. However, there is insufficient evidence to suggest that they are all aligned to the opposition. Although it is a known fact in Ghana that at least 3 of the radio stations, Radio Gold, XYZ and Montie, were pro-opposition NDC; there is no available evidence to suggest that others were also pro-opposition.

FULL TEXT

On September 25, 2019, a twitter user said the President had shut down 50 radio stations that favour the opposition. This, according to the user, is the reason why the many complaints of Ghanaians have gone unheard.

VERIFICATION

Did the NCA Shutdown 50 radio stations?

The National Communications Authority (NCA) assigns, allocates and regulates the use of frequencies in the country. To verify this claim, we sent an email to the NCA to confirm the claim. We also contacted the user for their source (we are yet to receive a response from them).

While waiting for a response from the NCA and the user, DUBAWA conducted its own independent research to ascertain the veracity of the claim.

In 2017, the NCA conducted a nationwide FM spectrum audit. This was done to ascertain if authorised stations were compliant. Subsequently, on September 28, 2017, the NCA announced the closure of 34 stations for operating illegally. In a press statement, the NCA explained that the stations had failed to renew their authorisations, years after they had expired. According to the release, the actions of the NCA was in conformity with Section 13 of the Electronics Communications Act (2008), Act 775.

On May 15 this year, the NCA updated the public on the status of the enforcement exercise. In another press statement, it was revealed that 41 FM Radio Stations operating with expired authorisations (as determined by the spectrum audit) had been closed down 5 days prior. Three (3) more stations were shut down on May 13 according to media reports. This brings the number of radio stations clamped down from 2017 to date, to 44, based on the available evidence.

Are all the radio stations pro-opposition?

Some of the stations were publicly known as either supporting of, or belonging to members of the opposition. Montie FM, Radio Gold and Radio XYZ were known to be pro-opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC). Conversely, Nananom FM and Genesis FM are reportedly owned by members of the opposition- NDC, Collins Dauda and Nana Adjei Ampofo respectively.

However, there is no available evidence to determine the status of the other stations.

CONCLUSION 

Since 2017, following an FM spectrum audit, the NCA shutdown 44 radio stations. Granted some of the stations are publicly known to be pro-opposition; there is insufficient evidence to suggest that they were all pro-opposition. It goes without saying that this article will be updated upon the emergence of new intel.

Caroline Anipah is the Programme Officer of DUBAWA, Ghana. She holds an MPhil in Communication Studies and an undergraduate degree in English and Political Science from the University of Ghana. She is a trained journalist and has engaged in various research activities with notable institutions including Ghana Statistical Service, German Development Institute (GIZ) and the USAID Evaluate for Health over the years. She has also worked with the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) on a regional (West Africa-wide) comprehensive research on the state of the media. She brings to the project and team, her experience in both media and research.

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