The National Communication Authority (NCA) has explained that it took off nine TV channel on the K-Net platform because they violated Section 2(4) of the Electronic Communications Act 2008, Act 775.
The act says “a person shall not operate a broadcasting system or provide a broadcasting service without a frequency authorisation by the Authority [NCA]”.
A nine channels that were taken off air on Wednesday are OB TV, ATV, Clive TV, ECN, Zoe TV, BTA, Care TV, Kessben TV, and Elijah TV.
A statement by the NCA said as per the provisions of the law any person or entity seeking to operate a system for the provision of broadcasting services has to obtain an authorisation from the Authority.
“Multimedia Broadcasting Limited has an authorisation to provide Free to Air Satellite Television services, branded Multi TV. However, 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 (12522MHz on the Astra 2F satellite) without authorisation from the Authority. The NCA consequently directed that these stations be taken off the satellite.”
According to the NCA, whereas the affected stations failed to obtain the required license from the NCA, they used a third party satellite infrastructure provider, K-Net, to send their programmes onto a satellite.
The statement said NCA has authorised K-Net to facilitate public internet data service through terrestrial network and satellite, but they were required by law to only allocate channels to authorized or licensed entities but they did not.
“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,” NCA said.
The NCA said it detected the operations of the unauthorized TV channels through its routine monitoring exercises, upon which the appropriate enforcement measures are 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 grace period to ensure compliance,” it said.
The NCA used the opportunity to educate the public that according to Regulation 51 of the Electronic Communications Regulations, 2011, LI1991, the application for a broadcasting authorisation shall be in a form and contain information specified by the Authority.
The requirements are published on the NCA website.
The Authority also advised advertisers and the general public to check with the Authority for the list of authorised broadcasting stations before doing business with any station.
It said these lists are published quarterly on the website, adding that “we encourage all stakeholders to ensure compliance with the regulations covering the industry to ensure an orderly communications environment.”
The NCA also cautioned that it will continue its monitoring exercise and ensure compliance.