NCA Fingered For Allocating Frequencies To Cronies And Political Fanatics

The National Communication Authority (NCA) has come under attack, for giving frequency allocations secretly to cronies and political fanatics, thus eroding public confidence in the Authority and undermining ethical standards.

“Our interview…revealed that some applicants did not submit feasibility studies of the business, but due to political influence…were allocated the frequencies in a very short time – less than a week,” said a Research Report.

The Report, carried out by the Graphic Communication Group Limited, from September 2006 to 2014, and shared with stakeholders on Thursday, blamed the NCA for encouraging secrecy of frequency ownership.

It said the opaqueness of the frequency allocation was evident that the NCA classified even data on applicants as “proprietary in nature.” “Thought as aspect of the procedure for qualification for consideration for frequency allocation is financing plan for the first 90 days, there were holders of frequency who were unable to start operation,” it added.

The Report stressed the urgent need for a broadcasting law that would give frequency allocation to the National Media Commission, which should be independent of the Executive, as done at the moment.

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It also recommended the re-introduction of the provision in the National Communications Act 1995, that compelled the NCA to respond to applicants on their success or failure, not later than 60 days after acknowledgement of receipt of the application.

The Report said the airwaves should be managed transparently as a public resource by an independent broadcasting regulatory authority, to ensure a truly democratic and pluralist broadcasting system.

It said Ghana ought to go for a frequency allocation that is based on consistent and fair criteria, and subject to public hearings.

Nana Amba Eyiaba, Queen-mother of Efutu, and Krontihemaa of the Oguaa Traditional Area, said the electronic media required authorization from the NCA, but the people and civil society organizations, have raised concerns about transparency in the allocation of frequencies.

Nana Eyiaba said while some complained about undue delay in receiving response from the Authority, others felt they had unfairly refused the frequency.

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