Joy FM, Asempa FM vs NCA: Court of Appeal adjourns injunction hearing to stop shutdown of stations

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The Court of Appeal on Monday indefinitely adjourned the hearing of an injunction application seeking to stop the National Communications Authority (NCA) from shutting down two multimedia stations, Joy FM and Adom FM.

The application which is to stop the NCA from carrying out threats to shut down the two stations comes ahead of an appeal challenging a High Court decision in June 2019 declaring that the NCA acted within its rights to mandate the two stations to reduce their coverage area from 100km to 45km following the 2011 National Coverage Reclassification Policy.

According to the Court, the adjournment is to allow Joy FM and Asempa FM to be served with NCA’s opposition to their injunction application.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, the Multimedia Group’s lawyer, Samson Anyenini noted that “since the appeal was filed, there have been at least two or three attempts to still have them shut down.”

The most recent warning from the NCA asked the Multimedia Group to comply with the order or be shut down By November 8, 2019, Mr. Anyeninis said.

This compelled the media company “once again to go back to the court of appeal” after previous applications for interim injunctions were struck out by the High Court and the Court of Appeal on July 22, 2019, and October 9, 2019 respectively.

“The attempt to do what they [NCA] are doing is unreasonable, it is irrational, it is arbitrary, it is unconstitutional, among other things,” the lawyer insisted.

‘Joy, Asempa not authorised to operate’
In a statement released earlier, the NCA denied claims it intends to shut down Joy 99.7FM and Asempa 94.7FM.

The Authority said it only seeks to ensure compliance with the 2011 National Coverage Reclassification Policy which reduced frequency coverage radii of radio stations from 100KM to 45KM.

“Obviously ensuring compliance with the national coverage requirement in line with the law and policy has nothing to do with a shut-down of a station. The NCA therefore entreats the general public to disregard the falsehoods being circulated in the media.”

But the NCA noted that “as of now, and owing to this pending matter at the Court of Appeal, Joy 99.7FM and Asempa 94.7FM do not have final valid authorisations to operate radio stations in Ghana.”

Find below the full statement
REPORTS OF IMPENDING CLOSURE OF JOY 99.7FM & ASEMPA 94.7FM FALSE

Accra, 9th December, 2019: The National Communications Authority (NCA) entreats the general public to disregard false news reports about plans to shut down Joy 99.7FM and Asempa 94.7 FM. Management of the two stations however have sued the NCA over its reclassification of FM coverage.

Background

In 2011 the NCA, after extensive stakeholder consultations, concluded and published a Reclassification Policy Document of FM Coverage in Ghana. The Policy Document directed Commercial FM Operators among others to reduce their frequency coverage radii from 100KM to 45KM. Thus far, the Authority has ensured compliance with this Policy throughout the country and across the board by operators.

However, it is important to state that Joy 99.7FM Asempa and 94.7FM have failed to comply with the said Reclassification of FM Coverage Policy; the two stations consequently filed an action for judicial review against the NCA at the High Court in Accra.

Court Decisions

On 13th June 2019, the High Court dismissed the said application for judicial review, and thus upheld the Authority’s regulatory mandate to limit commercial radio stations’ coverage to 45KM. Dissatisfied with the decision of the High Court, Joy 99.7FM and Asempa 94.7FM filed an appeal against the decision of the High Court to the Court of Appeal.

Additionally, Joy 99.7FM and Asempa 94.7 FM filed an Application for Interim Injunction pending appeal in the High Court and at the Court of Appeal. Both Applications for Interim Injunction were struck out as withdrawn by the High Court and the Court of Appeal on 22nd July 2019 and 9th October 2019 respectively.

To further vindicate their rights, Joy 99.7FM and Asempa 94.7FM have repeated the Injunction Application at the Court of Appeal, and same is pending for hearing. As of now, and owing to this pending matter at the Court of Appeal, Joy 99.7FM and Asempa 94.7FM do not have final valid Authorisations to operate radio stations in Ghana.

Claims of Shut Down False

From the above sequel of facts, it is therefore utterly false for Multimedia and its media practitioners to claim that NCA intends to shut down Joy 99.7FM and Asempa 94.7FM.

The Authority only seeks to ensure compliance with the 2011 National Coverage Reclassification Policy, which all other FM stations, except Joy 99.7FM and Asempa 94.7FM, are complying with. Obviously ensuring compliance with the national coverage requirement in line with the law and policy has nothing to do with a shut-down of a station. The NCA therefore entreats the general public to disregard the falsehoods being circulated in the media.

Source: Citinewsroom

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