The President of the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), has dismissed the claim that broadcasters are refusing to pay for their use of the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) platform.
Cecil Sunkwa-Mills explained that this is because every station is aware that distributing content comes at a cost
“In a meeting with the Select Committee present, we made it clear that there was a need for a clear procedure, transparent and fair procedure so we could proceed. At no stage has any broadcaster refused to pay any fees,” he said.
His comment follows the Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful’s warning on Monday that television signals to homes and offices may be cut from next year should operators fail to pay for the platform.
The Minister insists that the warning is as a result of the government having to pay millions of dollars for their use of the Digital Terrestrial Television platform.
Digital Terrestrial Television is a technology for terrestrial television where television stations broadcast television content in a digital format.
According to the Madam Owusu-Ekuful, the government, which has been covering the cost of operating the platform, can no longer bear the expense.
But reacting to this, the GIBA president described the caution for TV signals to be shut over nonpayment of services as ‘unfortunate.’
Speaking in an interview on Joy FM’s Top Story on Monday, Mr Sunkwa-Mills stated that GIBA is against the arbitrary allocation of fees on a national platform by the Communications Ministry.
According to him, the Minister earlier proposed a fee of $15,000 a month per station. However, it was slashed to $10,000 a month after the fee was challenged and the Association called for a breakdown.
According to him, the DTT platform is monopolistic therefore “the designation of rate or fees must go according to the Rate and Fees Act passed and run by the Finance Committee.”
He also noted that the Minister does not have the legal right to allocate fees for such a platform, adding that “We consult with the court for a clear interpretation whether the Minister can do as she is saying or not after issuing invoices to stations. As it is now, we are waiting for the conclusion.”