An Accra High Court presided over by Justice Gifty Agyei Addo has today ruled against Media Foundation for West Africa over the request for the National Communications Authority (NCA) to explain the discharge of its mandate in publishing quarterly reports.
The court in its ruling said the request was untenable and violates the Right to Information law.
The (Human Rights Division) of the Accra High Court which upheld the legal submissions of the NCA also dismissed all the reliefs claimed by MFWA against NCA in respect of the former’s request for information.
It will be recalled that on July 22, 2020, MFWA requested the NCA to provide the full list of all Authorised FM stations as of the second quarter of 2020, indicating the dates of the first Authorisation, dates of last Authorisation renewals, locations, and operational status (on-air or off-air.
The full list of all Authorised television stations as of the second quarter of 2020, indicating the dates of first authorisation, Dates of last Authorisation renewals, locations, and operational status; an explanation for the recent replacement of the published 2020 second-quarter report titled: ‘List of Authorised VHF-FM Radios in Ghana as at Second Quarter 2020’ which contained columns for date of first Authorisation and date of last Authorisation renewal, with one that now excludes the dates of first authorisation and dates of last Authorisation renewals.
The MFWA also requested for the full list (name of the company, name of the radio station, location and frequency number) of all FM radio stations that were shut down following the 2017 FM Spectrum Audit and in line with the 2018 decision of the Electronic Communications Tribunal.
The NCA, upon assessment of the above requests by the MFWA, asked MFWA to pay a fee of GHS2,000.00 by the law, however, M, FWA refused to pay the said service fees charged by the NCA and subsequently filed an action at the High Court of Accra (Human Rights Division) against the NCA.
The Court also held that MFWA had failed to establish any basis for the claim that its request is in the public interest; the Court upheld NCA’s contention that the public interest argument was an afterthought.
The High Court again held that the request made by MFWA was personal to the NGO and that the said requests must be paid for by MFWA.
Accordingly, the Court ordered MFWA to pay GHS1,500.00 to the NCA before the permitted information requested can be answered.
The NCA wishes to stress that the Authority will endeavour to execute its mandate as set out by law.
Story by Offei Wonuanie/ freedomradiogh.com