A former Director General of the Ghana Broadcasting Cooperation (GBC), William Ampem Darko, has defended the collection of TV licensing fees from the public, saying the state broadcaster could shutdown due to its financial challenges.
Mr. Ampem Darko said GBC’s problems are primarily financial, hence the need for the fees.
[contextly_sidebar id=”5YrshN9agRoIJJhqLPlsPoSbgA4tzdhZ”]His comments follow the setting up of special courts by the Chief Justice to prosecute offenders of the TV licensing law.
Speaking to Citi News, Mr. Ampem Darko said the licensing regime will help the cooperation effectively run its operations, given the huge debts owed the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).
“I will say that they were not paying their TV license so where were they expecting GBC to get the resources to provide them the content they want to see? In fact, if electricity cooperation was being very strict, there would not have been any GBC transmission in this country as at now because they owe them so much. As soon as they choose to demand their pound of flesh, GBC would have to close down.”
Appoint effective board directors
Proffering suggestions for the effective running of the Cooperation, Mr. Ampem Darko suggested that “we Ghanaians should look for good people to be the board of directors of GBC to see to it that the right thing is done by management. The National Media Commission must play its role, then GBC must give us the content, but for now, they do not have the resources.”
CJ sets up special court to prosecute TV licence defaulters
Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo, set up a special TV Licence Court to deal with people who refuse to pay the mandatory TV licence fees.
The courts, numbering 11, are located across all the ten regions of the country, and are to sit every Thursday with effect from 4th January 2018.
The courts will sit from 8:30am to 4:00pm on the said day.
GBC officially reintroduced the collection of the TV Licence fees in 2015 after years of putting it on hold due to non-payments.
While domestic TV users are to pay between GH¢36 and GH¢60 for one or more TV sets in the same house every year, TV set repairers and sales outlets are to pay an annual sum of between GHc60 to GHc240.
For commercial TV operators, they are to pay GHc36 per annum for each TV set.
GBC had in the last two years since the re-introduction, appealed to Ghanaians to voluntarily make their payments.
Implications of Special TV license court
Following the setting up of the special court, it is expected that recalcitrant TV owners or operators who previously were adamant about not paying the fee will be prosecuted.
According to Section 1(a) of the TV licensing Act 1966 (NLCD 89) as amended, “Any person who contravenes any provision of this law or regulation shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.”
Opposition to payments
Meanwhile, some Ghanaians have kicked against the payments accusing GBC of not providing compelling content to motivate them to pay the fees.
Police to help enforce TV license payment – GBC
The GBC Director-General had earlier said the Police Service will help in the pursuit of persons who refuse to pay their TV licence fees.
Dr. Annof-Ntow said the police involvement is to help forestall further challenges with the collection of the fees.
“We made a formal appeal not only to the court, but also to the IGP because we anticipated that we were going to hit a snag and some people will deliberately refuse to pay. So from where we sit, I’m delighted at the fact that the Chief Justice has granted our request. What it means therefore is that, this is an encouragement for everybody to go and pay the television licence.”
By: Marian Ansah/citifmonline.com/Ghana