NCA crackdown on selected Media: Okudzeto Ablakwa replies Kwame Gyan

I have observed that my good friend and Odade3 brother, Kwame Gyan has decided to lash out at me in a series of social media publications apparently in reaction to my opposition to the NCA’s crackdown on selected radio stations and what many of us consider to be an affront to press freedom.

It is interesting that my good brother decides to single me out for his scathing criticisms despite the incontrovertible fact that organizations such as the Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA), Ghana Journalists Association (GJA), Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and a host of others, have all publicly condemned the actions of the NCA.

I note what my brother tried to do with his latest piece and I must admit I have become quite accustomed to people deliberately making politicians easy targets and thereby setting them up for attacks and opprobrium, though, I wouldn’t ordinarily expect that from someone I consider my friend and brother. That notwithstanding, I have taken it in my stride. Occupational hazard, they say.

Be that as it may, isn’t it curious that Kwame Gyan conveniently avoids the case of another lawmaker, and by the way, also an Odade3, Dr. Oko Boye of the NPP, who has equally publicly criticized the actions of the NCA. Of course, highlighting Dr. Oko Boye’s opposition to the NCA decision would not advance the narrative Kwame Gyan is seeking to create – which is that I am a lawmaker encouraging lawlessness as I am only opposed to the NCA’s conduct merely on unprincipled partisan grounds.

May I bring to the attention of my very good friend Kwame Gyan that as lawmakers, beyond just passing laws, our mandate demands of us to be interested in the proper and fair implementation of the laws we pass. Our Constitutional oversight responsibilities impose an obligation to ensure that the laws we make are not subject to abuse nor unfair, unreasonable or capricious enforcement as prohibited under Articles 23 and 296 of the 1992 Constitution. Indeed, that is at the heart of the principle of checks and balances in a functioning democracy.

Contrary to Kwame Gyan’s assertion to the effect that I am guilty of promoting lawlessness, the crux of the matter is that the decision of the Electronic Communications Tribunal delivered on 18th June 2018 by the venerable Prof. Date-Bah which the NCA strangely relies on is absolutely clear that the NCA had “no legal basis” for the imposition of the initial fines and that they had engaged in “procedural impropriety.” Indeed, the NCA lost that case terribly!

Obviously, per the decision of the Electronic Communications Tribunal, it is the NCA which is on the wrong side of the law and not those of us standing up against the blatant abuse of office and the muzzling of dissent.

Perhaps, instead of the personality attacks, the NCA should be explaining how come Radio Gold and Radio XYZ were listed on its website as at May 13 this year as being among radio stations with authorization to operate.

Ghanaians continue to wait upon the NCA for a full publication of the current status of all radio stations including the 131 radio stations accused of various infractions as we were informed in September 2017 following an NCA spectrum audit.

Ghanaians at the very least deserve an explanation as to why it took the NCA 11 good months after the Tribunal’s decision of 18th June, 2018 to claim to be suddenly enforcing that decision on a day and at a time the two stations affected were broadcasting live, a press conference by NDC Council of Elders on the CID invitations of NDC Chairman, Samuel Ofosu Ampofo.

Finally, may I in all good faith appeal to my good friend and brother to desist from questioning the intelligence of people who participate in protests. I know without any equivocation that you are a fine gentleman and so I do not expect you to belittle or pour scorn on patriotic citizens who decide to exercise their constitutional right of “freedom of assembly including freedom to take part in processions and demonstrations” as enshrined in Article 21 (1) (d).

Do have a good evening bro and see you shortly at our scheduled lunch meeting.

By Sam Okudzeto Ablakwa

Ghana News Online

The primary function of GhanaNewsOnline.com.gh is to gather, process and distribute news about Ghana and Africa to the World. To serve as a News Agency with the mandate to present complete, in-depth objective and impartial information, news, and features rooted in investigative journalism.

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