The NCA has noted the public interest that has been generated following its recent enforcement actions on some unauthorised television stations. To clarify the issues, the following questions that the Authority has received has been answered below.
1. Why have some television channels been taken off the Multi TV broadcasting platform?
According to Section 2(4) of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008, Act 775, “… a person shall not operate a broadcasting system or provide a broadcasting service without a frequency authorisation by the Authority”. Therefore, any person or entity seeking to operate a system for the provision of broadcasting services has to obtain an authorisation from the National Communications 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.
2. If it is illegal, how did the TV stations broadcast?
The stations used a third party satellite infrastructure provider to send their programmes onto a satellite. This company provides services to some authorised broadcasting stations including Multimedia. They were consequently directed to stick to the terms of their licence. 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.
3. Who is the third party infrastructure provider and what services do they provide?
The third party infrastructure provider in this case, is K-Net Ltd., a company licensed to provide public internet data services using terrestrial networks and satellite.
4. When did the NCA take notice of the airing of unauthorised television stations?
From time to time, the NCA conducts monitoring exercises and when any unauthorised services are detected, 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.
5. How many channels have been affected?
As at 30th March 2016, the following 9 unauthorised channels have been affected:
• Clive TV,
• OB TV,
• Zoe TV,
• Care TV,
• Kessben TV,
• Elijah TV.
The Authority will continue its monitoring exercise and ensure compliance.
6. What are the procedures /processes before a TV station can broadcast on air?
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 http://www.nca.org.gh/33/23/TV-Broadcasting-Services.html.
7. What is the advice for people and entities who may be affected by this?
NCA advises advertisers and the general public to check with the Authority for the list of Authorised broadcasting stations before doing business with any station. These lists are published quarterly on the website. We encourage all stakeholders to ensure compliance with the regulations covering the industry to ensure an orderly communications environment.