Human Rights activist and lawyer Francis Xavier Sosu has described as unconstitutional the National Communications Authority’s closure of Radio Gold and Radio XYZ.
The NCA took the two radio stations affiliated to the opposition National Democratic Congress off air on Thursday for defaulting in renewing their licenses
But in a statement, Mr Sosu said: “The current practice of closing media houses down because of alleged expired license is unconstitutional and unlawful. Any such provision in the National Communications Authority Act, 2008(Act 769) is unconstitutional and illegal.”
Below is his full statement
NCA’s closure of Radio Gold and XZY Unconstitutional
I have heard the Minister of Communication say that the Closure of Radio Gold and Radio XYZ at a time they were carrying live transmission of the opposition NDC’s press Conference has nothing to do with press freedom. I was curious and went back to the laws that guarantee Press freedom and my revelations were stunning. I think the Minister has a new definition of Press freedom. Where the two radio stations have demonstrated that following the NMC tribunals ruling, they made countless efforts to renew their licenses and the NMC simply refused, is that not in itself a violation of PRESS FREEDOM?
Press freedom is a fundamental pillar in every democracy. It hinges on the principle that communication and expression through various media, including print and electronic media, especially published materials, should be considered a right to be exercised freely without any interferences. It implies the absence of interference from an overbearing state or its agents.
Article 62 of the 1992 Constitution provides that “Freedom and independence of the media are hereby guaranteed”. It is provided further that “there shall be no impediments to the establishment of private press or media; and in particular, there shall be no law requiring any person to obtain a license as a prerequisite to the establishment or operation of a newspaper, journal or other media for mass communication or information.” The current practice of closing media houses down because of alleged expired license is unconstitutional and unlawful. Any such provision in the National Communications Authority Act, 2008(Act 769) is unconstitutional and illegal.
Reasons for Media Freedom and Independence:
The media is very critical to the development and protection of our democratic status. That is why the media is considered to be the 4th estate of the realm. The core mandate of a free and independent media includes upholding of the constitution and holding government accountable on behalf of the people. This is why the Constitution did not put any fetter on operation of mass media. The Constitution is clear.
By: Dickson Boaid // www.dailyviewgh.com