How President Akufo-Addo responded to NDC’s appeal for amnesty to Radio Gold, others

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A meeting at the seat of Government, the Jubilee House with Political leaders on Friday ended with a request from the Chairman of the Opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Samuel Ofosu Ampofo that President Akufo-Addo should grant amnesty to the closed down radio stations as he did for some 808 prisoners last month.

According to the NDC Chairman, at a time when public education is key to fighting the disease, it’s imperative that more radio and television stations are allowed to educate their audiences the best way possible.

“I want to end by making a very passionate appeal to His Excellency the President that the role of the media is very critical and in this country, we all know that we have, [whether you like it or not] political divides in this country. If you go to the US now, there are a lot of people who will tune in to CNN because you belong to a certain ideological persuasion and you have a lot of people who will tune in to Fox News because of their ideological persuasion. So, there are people who are glued to certain media houses and would want to take public education from them. It is on this score that I’m making a passionate appeal to His Excellency the President and to commend you for the Amnesty you granted to prisoners recently.

“Your Excellency, I’m asking for another Amnesty from you, a number of radio stations have been closed down and in our efforts to ensure that we reach out to the majority of our countrymen and women, I’m appealing to your Excellency to grant Amnesty and get these radio stations that have been closed down to use their systems, their frequencies and activate their latent frequencies to reach out to the people in various languages so that we will be able to reach out to every nook and cranny of this country for all of us to fight and bring this pandemic to a halt,” Ofosu Ampofo said to President Akufo-Addo.

Responding to this request however, President Akufo-Addo said he is surprised the NDC Chairman will make such a request of him when he(Akufo-Addo) did not close down the said radio station(s).

“I was even surprised about the Amnesty for the radio stations. I think that the opportunity in the law is very clear as to how these radio stations, once they have been closed down or whatever it is, they were not closed down by me, that’s the first thing s it’s difficult for me to be the one to unlock them but the procedures are there. I’m surprised that a year or so later, those procedures are not being used to get the radio stations back on track.

“I don’t really think that there’s any big secret about them, the law is very clear, you make the application back to the National Communication Authority and you go through the various procedures. I don’t think you have to wait for a President for that to happen. But as I say, the ideas that have been expressed here are all very useful to us, we will take them very much on board and continue to work with them…”

The National Communications Authority (NCA) in 2017 embarked on an audit of all FM stations in the country which resulted in the imposition of sanctions on radio stations which were found to be operating without authorisation following their refusal to renew their operating licences with the Authority. The dissatisfied stations appealed to the Electronic Communication Tribunal (ECT) to review the sanctions by the NCA.

Ruling on the matter, the ECT unanimously quelled the imposed sanctions saying the radio stations cannot be sanctioned because they technically are not supposed to be operating due to their refusal to renew their license. The NCA subsequently shut down the operations of these Fifty-seven defaulting media houses.


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