Pressure group, OccupyGhana, has called for the TV Licence regime to be repealed and replaced because of its obsolete nature.
OccupyGhana in a statement said the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), must focus on introducing new laws that take modern trends into consideration.
[contextly_sidebar id=”xizS8Dm8wuAHTg8IcCWUFP9g3rGrOTO0″]”What is required is not a forcible re-implementation of it, but a root-and-stem review that repeals the existing law and regime, and, if necessary, introduce a new statute and regime that takes the current realities in broadcasting into account,” the group stated.
Ghana’s TV licensing Act 1966 (NLCD 89) defines a television receiving set as “an apparatus constructed solely for the reception of pictures (with or without sound) transmitted by radio,” of which owners are to pay the license fee.
But in OccupyGhana’s view, the law “rules out the vast majority of apparatuses (Smart TVs, phones, pads, tablets, etc.) that are currently in use, and which are manufactured to receive and process more than just pictures.”
“The reality is that a strict application of a law that is based on 1966 technology, to 2017 apparatuses would leave the licensing authority with precious little or almost nothing to enforce the license against.”
Occupy Ghana, in the statement, also said there was “no constitutional or statutory basis” for the GBC to be retaining the revenue collected, “and then determining how to use it, outside laws passed and appropriations made by Parliament.”
The GBC retains 72 percent of the fees collected, and the corporation’s former Director, William Ampem Darko, argued the state broadcaster could shut down without the fees due to its financial challenges.
The group further argued that because of the proliferation of media organizations, GBC was not the only source of public information “for it to warrant an automatic right to TV Licence Fees and to be able to produce and broadcast public information.”
Others like a law Lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Faculty of Law, Clement Akapame, have suggested that agencies like Ghana Standards Authority or the Ghana Revenue Authority should take charge of the collection of TV license fees instead of the GBC.
A pro-NPP pressure group, the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), also kicked against attempts to enforce the TV license regime and said it would not allow Ghanaians to be bullied into paying the fee especially for those who consume TV on phones.
AFAG also contended that the State was criminalizing the citizenry over a system that is being abandoned all over the world.
Concerns over the TV license regime followed the Chief Justice’s setting up of the special TV license courts handle people who refuse to pay the mandatory TV license fees in line with the TV licensing Act.
Domestic TV users are to pay between GHc36 and GHc60 for one or more TV sets in a household, while TV set repairers and sales outlets are to pay an annual sum of between GHc60 to GHc240.
Find here the full OccupyGhana statement
By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana